U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 23, 2007


United States Clearance of Unexploded Cluster Munitions

Driven by a commitment to alleviate the effects of armed conflict on civilians, the United States Government has provided well over $1 billion to post-conflict cleanup efforts around the world. This assistance has been provided without regard to the source or type of explosive contamination, including unexploded cluster munitions.

Cluster munitions are only one type of munition that can produce hazardous explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination. While they normally constitute a minor portion of the overall threat in the approximately 80 ERW-impacted countries, unexploded cluster munitions can be found in varying quantities in post-conflict areas. Programs funded by the United States have helped to clear ERW in 52 countries. Only in nine of these cases were unexploded cluster munitions a factor.

Following is a summary of specific United States efforts to help clean up unexploded cluster munitions in the course of its global initiative to help clear ERW and persistent landmines.

KOSOVO: NATO used cluster munitions as well as conventional unitary bombs against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) military targets in Kosovo. After the withdrawal of FRY forces, the United States and other donors launched a clean-up of all ERW and landmines. In addition to providing air strike data within 6 months of the end of hostilities to facilitate ERW clearance, the United States provided $15.5 million in clearance aid. By the end of the 2001 demining season, the United Nations declared that Kosovo was free from the humanitarian impact of all ERW and landmines. The United States continues supporting indigenous Kosovar clearance capabilities as new suspect areas are discovered.

SERBIA: Limited cluster munitions strikes occurred within Serbia as part of NATO operations to force the withdrawal of FRY forces from Kosovo. The United States has provided more than $2 million for ERW clearance in Serbia (and Montenegro) through the Slovenian International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. Clearance of all known contaminated areas in Serbia is expected to be complete later in 2007. Additional United States resources will be provided to further survey unverified ERW contamination in suspect areas.

MONTENEGRO: Some NATO air strikes that employed cluster munitions occurred within Montenegro, then part of the rump Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), during the campaign to force a withdrawal of (FRY) forces from Kosovo. A portion of the more than $2 million that the United States allocated for ERW clearance in Serbia via the Slovenian International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (see above) was used to clean up unexploded cluster munitions and other ERW in Montenegro as well.

AFGHANISTAN: In late 1988, the United States and other concerned donors began to clear landmines and ERW in Afghanistan, including unexploded cluster munitions used by the former Soviet Union. In 2002, the United States provided strike data for air- delivered ordnance, including cluster munitions, to the United Nations within three months of the cessation of hostilities against the Taliban. Concurrently, the U.S. Department of State expanded existing demining efforts to address the danger of unexploded cluster munitions with a $3 million project that was successfully concluded in July 2002. That $3 million is a small part of the more than $152 million in ERW and landmine clearance that the United States has funded in Afghanistan since 1993. United States assistance continues.

ALBANIA: Most of the unexploded cluster munitions present in Albania resulted from FRY forces firing artillery-delivered cluster munitions during the Kosovo crisis in 1999. A total of 15 square kilometers of Albanian territory were ultimately affected by ERW and landmines stemming from that conflict, with about 50 per cent of that area considered to have been affected to some degree by unexploded cluster munitions. By the end of 2006, thanks in part to more than $7 million of United States assistance, approximately 13 square kilometers of that total affected area was cleared. United States ERW clearance and demining assistance continues.

CAMBODIA: Cambodia suffers from extensive contamination from persistent landmines as well as ERW of all types, including unexploded cluster munitions delivered by United States forces. In addition to air strike target data, the United States has provided Cambodia with over $32 million in U.S. funding since 1993 to clear both landmines and ERW of all types, including unexploded cluster munitions. United States ERW clearance and demining assistance continues.

IRAQ: Immediately after the Second Gulf War in early 2003, clearance of ERW, including cluster munitions and landmines, was extended to all of Iraq. This effort was significantly facilitated by United States provision of strike data to the United Nations, often in as little as 72 hours after a particular attack while hostilities were ongoing. The U.S. Department of State's Quick Reaction Demining Force was deployed to Baghdad and other population centers in central Iraq in September 2003 to assist with the initial clearance of unexploded cluster munitions and other ERW at military targets situated among the civilian infrastructure. From fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2006, the U.S. Department of State invested over $111 million to clean up all war detritus generated by all combatants. Its clearance assistance continues.

LAOS: This is the one country in the world where the predominant long-standing ERW threat comes primarily from unexploded cluster munitions as opposed to other ERW or landmines or . Laos has benefited from the sharing by the United States of strike target data and of over $21 million in U.S. assistance since 1993, the majority of which has gone to address the problem of unexploded cluster munitions. United States ERW clearance assistance continues.

LEBANON: Immediately following the most recent conflict in Lebanon , the United States dedicated more than $9 million for quickly and safely clearing ERW, including cluster munitions, over and above the $17 million that the United States provided for ERW and landmine clearance there since 1993. See the Department of State press release, "Update on United States Aid to Lebanon to Clear Explosive Remnants of War," at www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/73579.htm for more details. United States ERW clearance and demining assistance continues.

VIETNAM: Similar to its efforts in Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam has received United States air strike data that has enabled its authorities, and the Veterans for America (formerly the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation), which is conducting a U.S. Department of State-funded survey of the humanitarian impact of landmines and ERW in Vietnam's central provinces, to better focus ERW survey and clearance efforts. Since 1993, the United States has provided over $14 million to help clear all forms of ERW, including unexploded cluster munitions and landmines in Vietnam, regardless of their origin. United States ERW clearance and demining assistance continues.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of State's efforts to help clean up the full range of explosive remnants of war and landmines around the world, in addition to the aforementioned countries where unexploded cluster munitions are specifically present, visit the website of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra and consult the 6th Edition of "To Walk the Earth in Safety" at www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/rpt/walkearth/2006/ .

2007/127

Released on February 23, 2007

  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.