Norway forum weighing draft to ban cluster bombs

A draft declaration under consideration at a 48-nation conference on cluster bombs calls for an international treaty banning the weapons by 2008, according to a copy of the document obtained Thursday by The Associated Press. The one-page declaration said the treaty should "prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of those cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians." It also urged countries to consider banning such weapons before the treaty takes effect. Norway, which is spearheading the initiative, has already done so, while Austria announced a moratorium on cluster bombs at the start of the conference. Israel has come under fire recently from the UN for its alleged use of cluster bombs during the war in Lebanon last summer.