Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

4 December 2008

Australia signs historic Treaty on Cluster Munitions

I was delighted to sign the Convention on Cluster Munitions on behalf of Australia in Oslo yesterday. Australia was joined by over 90 countries.

This new humanitarian Treaty prohibits the use of cluster munitions that inflict enormous suffering and damage on civilians.

Its ground-breaking provisions on victim assistance will deliver for survivors of cluster munitions, their families and their communities. Its clearance provisions will help free lands from the debilitating effects of these weapons.

Australia is already implementing this Treaty through its $75 million five-year Mine Action Strategy. Our most recent contributions have gone to clearance and victim assistance in Laos, Afghanistan and Lebanon, some of the worst affected countries in the world.

I also used the opportunity to meet with a range of my counterparts from Africa, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

I also met my counterpart Mr Jonas Støre, the Norwegian Foreign Minister, and Mr Erik Solheim, the Norwegian Minister for International Development.

We had useful exchanges on challenges posed by climate change, weapons proliferation, the Millennium Development Goals and Afghanistan.

This was the first visit to Norway by an Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs since 1965.

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