Oslo calls for global drive against cluster bombs

A 48-nation meeting called by Norway in a drive to ban cluster bombs opens in Oslo on Thursday, despite being snubbed by the United States, Russia and China. Norway hopes to initiate a worldwide drive against cluster bombs similar to the one banning anti-personnel mines, negotiated in Oslo in 1997. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called the Oslo meeting of governments and activist groups because arms talks in Geneva in November failed to move towards banning the weapons. Recently the UN has estimated that Israel dropped as many as 4 million of the bomblets in southern Lebanon during the recent armed conflict there, with as many as 40 percent failing to explode on impact.