Thursday, February 21, 2008
"Wellington, New Zealand - Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams accused the United States on Wednesday of trying to stall negotiations on an international agreement to ban cluster bombs - without even attending talks on the treaty.
Delegates from more than 120 countries are negotiating a convention in New Zealand that would ban the use, production, trade and storage of cluster bombs that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.
The talks, first launched by Austria, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and the Vatican last year, aim to define which cluster bomb weapons are acceptable and which should be banned.
Williams, a delegate to the talks, said the U.S. was seeking exemptions from the treaty for many cluster weapons, a 10-year delay to any treaty coming into force, and the right for non-cluster munition states to work in coalition with cluster bomb users.
The United States was not represented at the negotiations, and Williams accused its allies of making the demands on its behalf. “The U.S. has put pressure on states to do these things,” she told The Associated Press......"