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Cluster bomb progress

Cluster bomb progress

Cambodia and Thailand are reportedly “taking steps” toward agreeing to an international ban on cluster munitions, a controversial type of weapon that was used by Thailand during February’s heavy border fighting near the Preah Vihear temple.

“This is a remarkable development in light of the fact that Thailand fired cluster munitions into Cambodia earlier this year during a border dispute,” Laura Cheeseman, executive director of the Cluster Munitions Coalition, an advocacy group, said in a statement on Friday.

Delegates representing the neighbouring kingdoms indicated during a summit on the treaty in Geneva last week that they would accede to the 2008 convention in the “near future”, according to the CMC statement.

Since the treaty became binding international law last year, countries must accede to the treaty in a one-step process.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, spokesman for the Thai government, said yesterday that the issue would have to be decided once a new government is formed following the national elections.

“We intend to sign and ratify,” Panitan said.

Cambodian officials could not be reached yesterday.

Thailand used 155-milimetre Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions – widely understood to be cluster bombs – during heavy fighting with Cambodia in February, but its military does not consider the weapons to be banned under the treaty.

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