Cluster munitions kill and maim civilians both during and after armed conflicts and wars. They have caused humanitarian suffering for more than 40 years. At the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions last May, 107 states decided to prohibit the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions.
It is a great pleasure for me to invite you to Oslo on 2 – 3 December 2008 for the signing of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). It will be a historic event as it places humanitarian disarmament at the centre stage of international affairs. Through a unique and effective partnership between affected and non-affected states, the UN, ICRC and the Red Cross Movement, and civil society, we have worked relentlessly to forge the first international treaty to ban an entire category of conventional weapons. The signing in Oslo will be a milestone in this productive diplomatic disarmament process, and will help to keep up the momentum and increase our focus on the implementation of this new humanitarian instrument.
We set out ambitious goals in the Convention in particular with regard to clearance of cluster remnants, victim assistance and destruction of stockpiles of cluster munitions. Our work has just started and we must deliver. We should therefore all focus on rapid ratification of the Convention, but we should also broaden our outreach and dialogue to ensure the largest possible number of accessions to the Convention.
The slogan of the international campaign to ban cluster munitions has been “make it happen!” I therefore invite all members of the UN, the UN organisations, the ICRC and our civil society partner organisations to come to Oslo on 3 December to demonstrate that we are in fact making it happen – banning cluster munitions!
Jonas Gahr Støre
Minister of Foreign Affairs