Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in Dubrovnik on Monday that in the last eight years countries-signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions had destroyed as much as 90% of stored cluster munitions but that it was only the beginning of efforts that had to be made in that regard.
Speaking at the 1st Review Conference on the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Milanovic said that cluster munitions posed a major problem for civilians for many years after the end of a conflict.
“Cluster munitions are not reliable and cannot be used for military purposes. They represent a major problem and threat to civilians for many years after the end of a conflict,” said the PM.
He recalled that two years ago an explosive device was found on the roof of Zagreb’s hospital for children’s diseases, 18 years after Croatian Serb rebel forces shelled Zagreb with cluster bombs from a long-range multiple rocket launcher.
Croatia is more than aware of the damage caused by cluster munitions, he added.
“We know that our fight with them is insignificant compared to that of other countries and we are in a good position to complete it. We have enough will to help other countries affected by that problem and that is the reason why we accepted to organise this conference,” said Milanovic.
“From the very beginning the Cluster Munitions Convention set very ambitious goals – destruction of cluster munitions and clearing mine-infested areas as well as assistance to mine victims,” Milanovic said.
The Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted at a conference in Dublin in 2008 and it took effect in 2010.
The 1st Review Conference on the Convention, taking place in Dubrovnik on September 7-11, was organised by the Croatian government’s Mine Action Office.
Participants in the conference were also welcomed by Dubrovnik Mayor Andro Vlahusic.
The head of the Mine Action Office, Dijana Plestina, said the Convention was a result of cooperation between countries, international organisations such as the Red Cross and civil society, adopted under the aegis of the United Nations.
Additional effort is needed to make cluster munitions disappear from arsenals in the 21st century, said Plestina.