Canberra lobbied secretly to dilute cluster bomb ban

Australia secretly worked with the United States to weaken a key international treaty to ban cluster bombs, leaked US diplomatic cables show.

Despite taking a high-profile stance against cluster munitions – condemned as the cause of large numbers of civilian casualties – Australia was privately prepared to pull out of international negotiations on a global ban of the weapons if this threatened ties with US forces.

The US continues to use cluster munitions as a legitimate and useful weapon, including in Afghanistan, and has affirmed that it will not sign the treaty to ban them. The disclosure comes as Federal Parliament prepares to consider a bill to ratify Australia’s signature of the Convention on Cluster Munitions — via

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