Dermot Ahern

Message from Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin T.D.

Ireland hosted and chaired a Diplomatic Conference in Croke Park in May 2008, attended by over 100 States, which adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). The heart of the Convention is an immediate and unconditional ban on all cluster munitions which cause unacceptable harm to civilians. Each State Party undertakes never in any circumstances to use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer cluster munitions, or to assist another party in doing so. The Convention does not provide for any exceptions and it was also a very important achievement that there is no transition period during which the weapons outlawed could still be used.

The Convention is strong and ambitious. Its ban on cluster munitions is comprehensive. It sets new standards for assistance to victims and for clearing affected areas. I am also convinced that we have succeeded in stigmatising any future use of cluster munitions.

It is now time to focus on the future. I suggest that we set ourselves three immediate goals. First, States need to do all that is necessary nationally to enable them to accede to the Convention. For the Irish Government, the passage of the required domestic legislation has been a priority and Ireland intends to sign and ratify the Convention in Oslo on 3 December when the Convention is opened for signature. The second goal must be to ensure the greatest possible number of accessions to the Convention. We want ultimately to see it ratified by all Member States of the United Nations. Third, we all need to plan to do what is necessary to implement the Convention in full, not least in regard to victim assistance and clearance. Irish Ambassadors worldwide have been instructed to convey this message to their host Governments.

I look forward to the signing conference in Oslo next month.

Last updated on 21 November 2008