Pentagon adopts new policy aimed at safer cluster bombs
The US Defence Department on Wednesday announced a new policy for cluster bombs designed to reduce the unexploded ordinance that can harm civilians long after a conflict has ended, the dpa reported.
The policy is an alternative to an outright ban on cluster bombs that was agreed to by more than 100 countries, including NATO allies, at an international conference in May in Dublin, the Pentagon said.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates approved the policy after persistent international pressure on the US military to ban cluster bombs, which drop hundreds of smaller "bomblets" that occasionally do not explode and remain dangerous to children or other civilians.
The new policy requires that after 2018, more than 99 per cent of all bomblets in US cluster munitions detonate or self destruct when they are supposed to, and calls on the military to begin reducing stockpiles that do not meet that threshold "as soon as possible."