The first steps have been taken to banning cluster bombs, a weapon which kills and maims sometimes years later. Representatives of 100 countries gathered in Norway to sign a treaty calling for cluster bombs to be outlawed all over the world.
Fawzi Salloukh, the Lebanese Foreign Minister, said:
“This is certainly a remarkable and exceptional moment for the world and for peace loving nations. It is particularly a special moment for Lebanon and its population, especially in south Lebanon. For more than two years, civilians including children and the elderly have been victimised by the deadly remnants of the Israeli aggression against Lebanon in the summer of 2006.”
The ban was agreed in Dublin in May, following concerted pressure from campaigners around the world. But the major arms producers, including Russia, China and the United States, will not sign, although President-elect Barack Obama may when he enters the White House.
Protestors say more than 100,000 people, 98 percent of them civilians, have been injured by cluster bombs since 1965. Many of the victims are children, who mistake unexploded bomblets for toys.