US ready to negotiate treaty on cluster bombs

US officials said they are willing to start negotiating a treaty on the use of cluster bombs, reversing their previous position that no new agreement on the weapon was necessary. But the United States still rejects the proposed global ban on the weapon, which 46 countries began negotiating in Oslo in February. Instead, Washington wants to negotiate another treaty - which goes less far - within the framework of the 1980 UN Convention on Conventional Weapons, known as CCW. The US position has changed "due to the importance of this issue, concerns raised by other countries, and our own concerns about the humanitarian implications of these weapons," said Ronald Bettauer, head of the US delegation to the CCW meeting taking place this week in Geneva. "It was determined that the United States should support the initiation of a negotiation on cluster munitions within the framework of the convention," Bettauer said Monday.