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U.S. Cluster Munitions Policy

Stephen D. Mull, Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs
On-the-Record Briefing
Washington, DC
May 21, 2008

(1:30 p.m. EDT)

MR. GALLEGOS: Good afternoon. Appreciate you all coming. Today, we have Ambassador Stephen Mull, who is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs. He's going to be discussing the U.S. position on the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions, which is part of the Oslo process. He's going to have a brief statement, and then he'll take some Qs and As from you all.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Thank you very much, Gonzo. It's great to be here. I'm looking forward to discussing this issue. There's been a lot in the press about it, and I really welcome the opportunity to talk a little bit more about our interests and goals in the whole issue.

I would just say at the beginning that the United States is deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact not only of just cluster munitions but really the whole range of munitions that are used in war. It's an absolute moral obligation to clean up -- to do everything that you can to clean up after a conflict zone to make sure that there aren't innocent victims after the conflict of weapons that - unexploded ordnance and weapons that are left lying around.

And the United States is proud of the role that we've played in cleaning up battlefields around the world. Since 1993, we have spent more than $1.2 billion on cleaning up war zones and former conflict zones to make sure that they're safe for civilians to go back and reinhabit. And no other country in the world comes close to that. And it also exceeds - we do this not just where the United States is involved, but in conflict zones around the world where the United States is not a party to the conflict.

I'd also note that while cluster munitions, as I mentioned at the beginning, there are legitimate humanitarian concerns about their use, they really represent a small percentage of the threat that unexploded remnants of war pose to civilian populations. In 2006, for example, we recorded about 15,000 casualties from the whole range of unexploded ordnance - grenades, landmines, other bombs that are left behind. We have not been able to document that more than 5 percent of all of those casualties resulted from cluster munitions. And so while I know we're here to talk about cluster munitions, I just wanted to underscore that the humanitarian issues brought on by cluster munitions are really a small part of a much larger problem that we think the whole world needs to work on together.

Now, we are very strongly committed to work to address this problem, but we may have some disagreements about the right venue and the right tactics to follow in trying to solve the problem. Since last year, we have been pursuing addressing this problem on the - through the - it's a disarmament body known as the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, or the CCW, which meets in Geneva and comprises all of the major military powers and military trade producers in the world. And we believe that that venue is the right place to solve this because it is the place where all of the principal producers and users of these munitions vote and participate and work together.

So last year, we worked very energetically and succeeded in getting agreement from everybody in the body for a negotiating mandate to negotiate a new protocol to regulate the use of cluster munitions to address the humanitarian issues that are involved with them. We think that it is going to be impossible to ban cluster munitions, as many in the Oslo process would like to do, because these are weapons that have a certain military utility and are of use. The United States relies on them as an important part of our own defense strategy. Many of our allies rely on them as well. But again, I repeat, we believe it's vitally important to regulate, strictly regulate the use of these weapons to take humanitarian considerations into account, and we do so.

So rather than ban them, we think a much more effective way to go about this is to pursue technological fixes that will make sure that these weapons are no longer viable once the conflict is over; in other words, that they explode when they're supposed to against the enemy you're trying to use them with and not six months later when kids are playing in the neighborhood. And we think the technology is already there, in fact, to introduce those kinds of standards. And so that's the kind of fix that we're going to be pursuing through the CCW process, and the next meeting of the CCW is going to be in July in Geneva.

Now, we understand very well the motives behind those participating in the Oslo process. We respect their interests in humanitarian concerns. But we have an essential tactical disagreement that unless you get all the major producers and users of these weapons to agree on how they're going to regulate them, the - you're not going to meet your goal of addressing the humanitarian impact of them.

Now, we're not attending because of that tactical difference, though, of course, we are following with interest what's going on there. We - and we'll see. In addition to having concerns about not coming up with any way to address the humanitarian concerns, we are concerned that measures adopted by the Oslo process could very much endanger our ability to operate and to cooperate with other militaries and other governments around the world. For example, the current draft of the Oslo process convention under consideration would effectively criminalize cooperation of countries who sign the convention, the Oslo process convention, criminalize their cooperation with militaries who do not sign them, who do not - with governments who do not sign the convention and who still use cluster munitions. And this would have very grave implications for a whole range of activities that we don't think are within the goals of the organizers of this process.

But for example, if the convention passes in its current form, any U.S. military ship would be technically not able to get involved in a peacekeeping operation, in providing disaster relief or humanitarian assistance as we're doing right now in the aftermath of the earthquake in China and the typhoon in Burma, and not to mention everything that we did in Southeast Asia after the tsunami in December of 2004. And that's because most U.S. military units have in their inventory these kinds of weapons. So with one stroke, any country that signed the convention as it exists now and ratified it, in effect, would make it impossible for the United States or any of our other allies who rely on these weapons to participate in these humanitarian exercises. And we don't think that that's a good thing for world security. So we have real practical concerns about the interoperability implications - implications of this convention for our interoperability with other militaries and with other governments.

I'd say that we're not alone in this. I know that within the NATO alliance, there are serious concerns about the implications for this convention on interoperability. Some members of NATO are participating in the process to make known their concerns. Others, like us, are not. But it's really a very serious concern of what one negative outcome of this process could be.

We do hope to get all of our friends and allies, including those in the Oslo process, to get involved with us at the next CCW meeting in July and work in a serious forum where we can come up with a new approach to addressing the humanitarian dimensions in a realistic and an effective way of these cluster munitions.

So I'll stop there and I'll be happy to take any questions. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: Sylvie Launteaume from AFP. You said that the cluster bombs have a certain military utility?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But since - according to Handicap International, the NGO, 80 percent - 85 percent of the victims of cluster bombs are civilians and 23 percent are children. What kind of military utility to use the --

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, there's certainly no military utility to use these weapons on children and innocent civilians. The utility of the weapons are in a conflict zone when you are trying to stop the advance of an enemy onto your territory or against - or against your position. So that's why I think it is vitally important that we explore, you know, how can we fix these weapons so that they will not be a danger. And we do believe that a technological fix is possible and we're reasonably confident we're going to be able to convince the other major producers of these weapons to agree with us in applying this fix. At least that's our goal for the CCW process.

QUESTION: But according to these figures, only 15 percent of the bombs reach their objectives.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, it's - that shows that there are technological problems with them now that need to be fixed. I'm not familiar with that statistic, but I think most of the times that these have been deployed in recent conflicts, most militaries have, in fact, found them effective. I know our own military finds them useful to have when preparing for a conflict situation.

Yes.

QUESTION: I think the most recent criticism of the U.S. in terms of these cluster bombs are when Israel used them against Hezbollah and ended up hurting a lot of Lebanese citizens in the crossfire. And I think part of the criticism of these bombs is that you talk about the need to regulate them, but when one of your own allies is using them, they don't seem to be regulated in that way.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, I know that the Israelis have had - we've consulted very closely with them on their use of those weapons and we know that there's been a very strict internal review. And I believe the Winograd Commission, which released its report earlier this year, found several shortcomings in Israeli military policy. We've had very intensive consultations with the Israeli Government on this. We just had a team in Israel a few weeks ago. And we understand that they are, in fact, introducing major reforms regulating their use of it so those sorts of mistakes don't happen again.

QUESTION: What are your - in terms of supplying allies with cluster ammunitions, what are your kind of export controls and the consequences for violating them?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, we, the State Department, are responsible for providing licenses for the export of any of those kinds of materials to anyone. And before we issue a license, we will -- currently, as a result of the Foreign Operations Act of this year, we may not export any cluster munitions that have less than a 99 percent reliability rate; in other words, 99 percent of them will explode or self-destruct before the end of the conflict. So the law guides us that we may not export cluster munitions that are below that.

So there are no sanctions in our law in place for misuse of cluster munitions that may have been exported before this became the law. But we have - you know, if the Congress or -- and the Administration decided to, we could further restrict, at our own initiative, exports to a particular country that was violating them.

QUESTION: I don't mean more - I mean more about, like, what are your export controls in terms of the use of - for instance, like if you were going to supply them to a country, do they have certain conditions that must be met for them to be using it? And in the case of Israel, which - I mean, it seems to have violated any export control that I could imagine would be in existence. Are you continuing to sell to Israel or other countries that violate the use of them?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, we are - we are not - again, we're forbidden by law of - by providing cluster munitions that have a less than 99 percent reliability. We're in the process of making our own internal transformation in our own military, so we're - I don't think there's a supply of those at that reliability rate that we're able, practically, to provide them. So we are not now, because of this law, in effect, providing cluster munitions to foreign partners.

QUESTION: I'm sorry. I'm sorry, guys. I'm sorry. I don't understand, because - is it reliability of the actual device or - I mean, if a country misuses it in a way against civilians, you're not - responsibility for the reliability of - if they misuse it in any sort?

AMBASSADOR MULL: So for their misuse of a - well, it's something, when we believe that they have been misused, we discuss with the government and make a determination, as we did in the case of Israel, about what consequences there are going to be. In terms of further sales, in effect, we are not providing cluster munitions to foreign partners anymore.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Just kind of to take off onto Elise's question a little bit, can you go through with us a little bit where you see the use for these munitions? You talk about to stop the advance of an oncoming enemy, I suppose. But the nature of conflict these days is that it takes place -- you know, in the case of Hezbollah, for example, among a civilian population, these munitions would be posing a threat to the civilians. Can you explain to us where the utility of these munitions are in modern warfare?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, you're certainly right that the nature of war has changed a lot in the past few years. The United States hasn't used them in the conflicts we're involved in since 2003, during the intervention in Iraq. Since then, when you're fighting a counterinsurgency, which is what's happening in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I think our military planners would agree with you completely that they're not appropriate and wouldn't be very useful.

However, if you're facing a more traditional kind of war, with a country invading your country and threatening to take away your territory, they would be very effective in terms of stopping the rapid advance of an army onto your territory or against your position. Now, you know, it's a fair question: How many wars like that is the United States going to be in, in the foreseeable future. My personal guess is probably not a lot. I don't think we have that kind of threat from Canada or Mexico, by the way, for example.

But the issue is, is that the United States is a global power. We have global responsibilities and global alliance relationships. And I don't think we could rule out that other conflicts that our allies might be involved with in the future, which we would be required to respond to. For example, let's say an invasion of South Korea or some other - let's say a war that breaks out and - or let's say Syria invades Lebanon, God forbid, that that happens, I mean, it's not entirely impossible that there could be a conflict like that in which we would be responsible for helping for the defense of our ally in which the weapons would be needed.

QUESTION: Okay. And I was confused on one part. You said that there was a law stating that only 99 percent reliability weapons could be sold, but then you said also that none are being sold. So is it the law says it, but you aren't selling any? Is that what you're --

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, it's because we - that -- you know, they're just - the technology is just coming into place to produce weapons of that reliability.

QUESTION: Okay. And then I guess the follow-on to that would be, when you do sell these then, assuming that this technology comes up to the point where you can sell it, what are the rules that you provide to countries that buy these as far as their use and what are the explicit rules you give them with regard to being able to deploy them?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, we certainly would brief the country receiving them of our expectation that they not be used in civilian areas or in places where civilians are likely to be, that they be used for strictly military measures.

Just - yes. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Can you tell us some more about the assurances that Israel gave you? You said they - you know, you had a discussion with them and they assured you somehow that those sorts of mistakes wouldn't happen again. I mean, what did they say they would do so that this wouldn't happen again?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, this is largely - I'd prefer - so I'd stay away -- the word "assurances" has a certain diplomatic or a legal context. But we have had discussions with them. I'd refer you to the Israelis. This is an internal military policy process for them, some of which has been in the Israeli press. We're certainly satisfied that they are taking a very serious look at their cluster munitions policy. And I assume they'll be ready to talk about it publicly, when they've reached their conclusions.

QUESTION: Were those U.S.-made weapons that they used?

AMBASSADOR MULL: I - I can't say I'm not familiar with the exact - even the ones that were used in individual -

QUESTION: That were the subject of the controversy, that then you felt you needed to talk to them about it.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Some were provided by the U.S., but others were domestically produced.

QUESTION: Uh-huh. And one other question: How can you make a technological fix so that these things - I mean, you keep saying we're - we need to do this, but, I mean, perhaps without getting into chapter and verse, can you give us a better idea how that would work?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, I certainly won't get into chapter and verse because I'm not a weapons designer or engineer by any means. But as I understand it -- and I don't know, Richard, if we have information that we can provide -- but there are fusing mechanisms. In the past, these weapons have relied on mechanical fuses that, if the mechanics of the individual weapon malfunctioned, it wouldn't explode when it was supposed to and then later could be, you know, picked up by a civilian or work - the mechanical problem that had prevented it from exploding, rights itself and it happens later on.

The new technology relies more on electronic fuses that are linked to timing mechanisms. And as the - sort of certain control that if it does not explode for whatever other reason, the power to effect the explosion will disappear within a predetermined period of time.

QUESTION: Just one other question.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: This law about 99 percent reliability, that must be a fairly recent law or -

AMBASSADOR MULL: Yes. It was part of the Foreign Operations Act that became law in December, and it's for this fiscal year. It - I - you know, we don't know yet if it's going to be renewed.

QUESTION: So that had the effect of shutting down U.S. sales --

AMBASSADOR MULL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- of cluster --

AMBASSADOR MULL: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Can you give us some figures about your sales?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Actually, I can't. Do we - no, we don't have them at all.

QUESTION: What was the question? What was that question?

QUESTION: The figures on your sales.

QUESTION: The figures. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Sort of a similar question. Do you have any idea when sales might start up again, when this new technology will be available? And then also, you mentioned that some critics did show up in Ireland to express their point of view. Why did the U.S. decide not to show up to voice its concerns?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, we believe, tactically speaking, you know -- and I should say we really respect the right of every single country to make its own decision on this. We're not trying to stop countries from going to Oslo or to threaten them with punishment if they go, and if a country decided unilaterally that it will not use cluster munitions, we -- of course, we certainly respect that. That's up to - to every country to make its own decision.

We decided not to go to Oslo because we don't want to give weight to a process that we think is ultimately flawed, because we don't think that any international effort is going to succeed unless you get the major producers and the users of these weapons at the table. And it was clear to us that the Oslo process was not going to bring those participants. So we don't want to start a process that, in the end, is not going to be very effective in reaching our own humanitarian goal of limiting the risk that these weapons can pose to innocent civilians.

QUESTION: And when you say Oslo, you mean (inaudible)?

AMBASSADOR MULL: The Dublin process, which is the latest gathering under the Oslo process. We call it that because it was launched in Oslo last year.

QUESTION: And do you have any idea about when this new technology might be ready to - when sales might start again?

AMBASSADOR MULL: I - I can't say. I know that they are being produced right now. I'd refer you to industry. You know, we have a regulatory role. We just have to make sure that when a company wants to export these or our military wants to provide them to a foreign partner, our regulatory role is to make sure that they meet that minimum reliability standard.

Maybe I'll take somebody else and come back to you. Yeah.

QUESTION: Hi. Jeff Abramson, Arms Control Today. I have a number of questions. One is just following up on this last one. Do you - would it be possible for the Oslo process to produce a convention that the U.S. would consider if it took into account these concerns? Would the U.S. be willing to consider signing on to that, even though other countries haven't been there in the process?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, it's difficult to answer a hypothetical question. If we were asked, obviously, we would look at it. But again, if it did not win the agreement of the main producers and users of these weapons, I tend to doubt that we'd want to be a part of it.

QUESTION: And the Senate last month finally took up protocols three, four and five of the CCW, as well as Amendment 1. How important is that process for lending weight to the U.S. effort within the CCW process? And have you gotten any sense of how quickly or whether ratification might occur?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Our legal advisor, John Bellinger, was - spent a lot of time with our Senate trying to get their approval for this. We think it would certainly be helpful, regardless of whether the Oslo process or the Dublin meeting was - were going on or not, it's something that's in our interest to do. And so we're pursuing it in our own national interest, irrespective of this process. But, you know, incidentally, it probably could help to show that we do take - we do take the CCW seriously and we certainly hope that the Senate will ratify.

QUESTION: During that hearing, the Defense Department indicated they were doing an internal review for the future uses of cluster munitions that sounded like it was going to be ready within weeks. Do you know any further details about that review, whether that review would be available publicly about potential military uses of clusters?

AMBASSADOR MULL: I know it is -- it is underway and I understand that it's coming close to its formulations - to the end of its formulation process. But I'd refer you to the Defense Department on the latest for that.

QUESTION: All right. And last question: In January, the CCW has proposed a quick reaction force as one of the ways to deal with the larger humanitarian issues. Is there any progress on that at this point?

AMBASSADOR MULL: I'm not familiar with it. Richard, are you?

A PARTICIPANT: It was released on the web last week. You can check it. The statement of work is out there and the bids have come in and they're now closed. Last count, we had over a dozen applicants from industry.

QUESTION: Thank you. Oh, okay.

AMBASSADOR MULL: All right. Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: You said that you respect the choice of every participant in the Oslo process.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But you also said that if they accept -- if they adopt the measures -- the measure that are scheduled right now, it would impinge on your ability to operate or cooperate with some of your allies, especially, you mention, your peacekeeping operations. It's - it seems to me a threat. You are not concerned to be - you maybe consider that threatening the allies, not to accept this?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, we do. I - we're certainly not threatening anybody, but we do feel it important to point out that the perhaps unintended consequences of this convention could make our ability to operate in alliance with signatories -- could be an unintended consequence that we don't think the organizers might be aware of. So there was a Norwegian delegation here last week. We explained our concerns, again, not in a threatening way, but just to point out some of our legal interpretations of this. We met with all of the NATO embassies here in Washington.

This has been a topic of great discussion at NATO itself in the North Atlantic Council. And we've also briefed major contributors to peacekeeping and stabilization operations just so they're aware of it. And most, if not all of our allies, including the Norwegians, have come back to say that yes, this is a fair concern and it's something that they're going to be looking at in the course of this week's discussions and next week's discussions in Dublin.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I just had one other question for you back on Israel's use of the cluster munitions. I think 2006 was the second time in 20, 25 years that they've been cited for misuse of cluster munitions. Has there been a decision taken yet on whether to still export those arms to Israel based on the fact that they've now been cited twice for improperly using them?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, in effect, there is a decision because our law prohibits it.

QUESTION: Oh, so - I'm sorry, hold on. The law prohibits you from selling to Israel?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Or the -- for less than 99 percent. You're saying more than 99 percent?

QUESTION: Yeah. I mean, given the fact that your - the industry will catch up to where the law is, I mean, has there been a decision taken on specifically Israel, given that they've been cited twice for improper use of them?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, if there were a future request from Israel to purchase it -- to purchase them and there were stockpiles readily available that met the legal requirement that we could provide, we'd look at it at the time - at the time. We'd want to know - I know they're still looking at this internally -- we'd want to know what restrictions that they would have in place on its use, what sort of controls, other controls that they have in place. And, you know, we'd look at it at that time. But I couldn't - I can't really say on a hypothetical.

QUESTION: Well - but, I mean, I guess the question then would be: Is there a specific - a special consideration for Israel now? You seem to say that you're - consider it based on a variety of circumstances. But does that mean that those are the same circumstances for any other country or specifically for Israel?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, certainly for those countries, to who', we're vitally committed, like Israel. Certainly, we would consider it.

QUESTION: You don't do your own investigation? You just relied on theirs?

QUESTION: Yeah?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, I mean, we had exchanges with them, so you (inaudible) characterize that as an investigation of ours.

QUESTION: But there's no special restriction on Israel compared to other countries?

AMBASSADOR MULL: No, no, not in the law.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Are there eligible countries at this point that have put in a request for the new technology once it's online?

AMBASSADOR MULL: I'm not aware of any.

A PARTICIPANT: We've exported* - we have one munition in the inventory that meets the standard sensor fuse weapon that has been exported. And you can - I don't know all the countries who received it, but the sensor fuse weapon has been exported to more than one country and it is considered to meet the --

AMBASSADOR MULL: Ah, so there has - there is - there is one, okay.

QUESTION: Do you know how many, how much?

QUESTION: Where can we find that, do you know?

A PARTICIPANT: No, I don't. I know a handful of countries have received the sensor fuse weapon.

QUESTION: It's probably on your -

AMBASSADOR MULL: Yeah, I mean, we can - we'll check with our administrate - we'll check with (inaudible) people. Jay, if you could take that and can get that and get back.

QUESTION: Defense Department has one.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Mm-hmm.

Yes.


QUESTION: To sort of follow-up on some of the other questions, I think - are you saying that, you know, if this convention passed, you would back out of humanitarian missions rather than take those munitions off your ships?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, again, it's a hypothetical. I suppose we'd have to look at what the -- you know, what the particular case was, is there somebody else who could do it rather than us. I mean, there are a number of variables that we'd have to look at.

My point is, is that it's still important that the most militarily capable countries in the world should be able to respond to emerging humanitarian disasters as quickly as possible with as few impediments to that as happening. And that's why we think this kind of blanket ban is a mistake.

QUESTION: Just to keep playing the devil's advocate, I mean, I think the other side would say, well, just take the munitions off your ships, just, you know -

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, we - the number one priority of any country's military is to defend its country. And if our military planners are determined that these are necessary to protect American interests, we - it's not something that we're going to unilaterally get rid of.

Yes, ma'am.

MR. GALLEGOS: Just to clarify, he at no time said that we would not be willing to participate or assist because a country signed this. I think he would have put that 180 degrees --

QUESTION: No, but he said it would -

MR. GALLEGOS: I just want to be very clear about that.

QUESTION: They would not be able to get involved in some humanitarian -

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, the convention, as written now, would prohibit a signatory from military - militarily cooperating or interoperating, to choose your word, with a country that had these munitions as part of their military units.

QUESTION: But peacekeeping would be allowed or - I mean, you said military cooperation, a peacekeeping mission wouldn't involve any bombing or --

QUESTION: A humanitarian mission with ships --

QUESTION: Presumably none.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, again, I mean, if the U.S. were involved in a peacekeeping or a stabilization operation, it's a reasonable expectation that military units involved with that would have some form of these munitions as part of their inventory to defend themselves. And so --

QUESTION: But you don't - you don't send troops to every - for most peacekeeping missions?

AMBASSADOR MULL: No, no. But we are involved in lots of humanitarian relief exercises.

A PARTICIPANT: If I may, 41,000 of the troops that are right now deployed on UN peacekeeping missions, out of the 95,000 in the world, come from states who are not participating in the Oslo process: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh; these are all major troop-contributing states. And what we've said is we're not going to penalize a country. They will penalize themselves because they will cut themselves off to access and cooperation and training.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Can you say who the major producers are? I mean, you refer to them. Are you talking about China, Russia -

AMBASSADOR MULL: China, Russia, the United States, certainly Sweden -

A PARTICIPANT: Germany, France.

AMBASSADOR MULL: Germany and, France, UK, most of the major industrial powers.

Yes, ma'am.

QUESTION: The U.S. is - the U.S. is interested in the regulation of use, right? And -

AMBASSADOR MULL: In the regulation of -

QUESTION: Use --

AMBASSADOR MULL: Yes, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- of cluster munitions. And I'm just wondering, as some people say that it's almost impossible, it's very difficult, it's not so practical, if you look at the situation in Iraq, the U.S. used cluster munitions in civilian area, and that's because the U.S. said that they detected some enemies in the civilian area. In this war on terror, it's very difficult - some people say that. So, I'm just wondering, do you really think this is practical?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, it - I think there are a number of ways that you can address the problem. One, as you mentioned, use of - you know, certainly in our own military doctrine, we apply very strict terms to when and where they can -- that they can be used. Sometimes there are very difficult judgment calls to make if the enemy has infiltrated a civilian area, what - you know, are there measures that you could take to evacuate the civilians or - there are a number of different things that any user of these could look at.

And certainly, you know, the CCW could - could take up those kinds of restrictions as it discusses its - its own protocol. But alternately, we think it's much more effective to, again, use the technology to make sure that these will not be a danger to civilians after a conflict is over. And that, we think, is a much more promising way to regulate their use, because if it can't blow up, a person can't be hurt by it.

QUESTION: Well, it can blow up if you use it in a civilian area right away and there are civilians there.

AMBASSADOR MULL: That's right, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So what about regulating not only the use of them after - like the technology about it after, but what about regulating the conditions under which they're used?

AMBASSADOR MULL: Yeah. This would have to be something discussed.

QUESTION: Thank you.

AMBASSADOR MULL: All right. Thanks a lot.


2008/415




* The United States has not exported any sensor fuse weapons; however, other countries have similar technology.


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