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President of the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions seriously concerned over the recent use of cluster munitions

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(Vientiane, 7 April 2011) The use of cluster munitions in recent border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia has been confirmed in a press statement issued by the Cluster Munition Coalition. It is of serious concern to learn of that recent use, and in particular on South East Asian soil, already so heavily impacted by these horrific weapons. Due to their wide area effect and high rate of unexploded ordnance left behind, cluster munitions constitute a threat to peace, human security, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, poverty eradication and social and economic development. As President of the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions I call again for a universal adherence to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

I was much honored to host and preside over the successful First Meeting of States Parties of the above mentioned Convention in Vientiane, Lao PDR, 9 - 12 November 2010 attended by 121 States, both parties and non-parties to the Convention, together with representatives from the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Cluster Munition Coalition and many additional national and international organizations.

The Vientiane declaration, adopted at the meeting explicitly affirms the commitment by all States Parties, Signatories and international organizations who participated therein to end the harm caused by cluster munitions and condemns the use of cluster munitions that causes unacceptable harm to civilian populations and objects, by any actor.

I therefore would like to remind of our collective goal - a world with no cluster munitions and our legal obligation to promote the norms of the Convention which sets a new standard for the conduct of armed conflict and should be accepted by all States.