EU Parliament calls for ban on cluster bombs

The European Parliament on Thursday urged EU governments to push for compliance with a treaty to prevent germ warfare, and joined the UN in calling for an immediate worldwide ban on cluster bombs. The EU assembly made the call as countries met in Geneva to review a treaty on inhumane weapons, and several days before a conference on biological and toxin weapons in the same city. The 1975 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, signed by more than 165 countries, bans the development and stockpiling of germ-based weapons. But unlike treaties on nuclear and chemical weapons, the convention doesn't include procedures to verify that countries are complying, because it has been considered too difficult to conduct thorough inspections. Some countries that signed the convention, including the Soviet Union and Iraq, were later found to be developing biological weapons in what appeared to be civilian facilities.