Cluster Bombs Update

SANTIAGO, Chile — A global effort to ban cluster bombs has gained the signatures of 106 countries, but 70 more have yet to sign on with only weeks to go before the ban goes into effect on Aug. 1.

The United States is among those refusing to sign. The Pentagon considers cluster bombs to be a key part of its defense strategy.

The Cluster Munition Coalition gathered representatives of more than 100 countries in Chile this week to plot strategy. Only 36 countries have both signed and ratified the convention, which will go into effect nevertheless, two years after it was presented in Norway.

Other countries that haven’t signed on include Brazil, whose foreign relations ministry said Wednesday that the matter remains under consideration.

Chile, a treaty signer, produced and planted thousands of mines in the 1970s, when it was at the point of war with Argentina and felt threatened by Peru. Now it’s trying to clean them up.

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