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Group of Governmental Experts Meeting: United States Opening Statement
August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010

Group of Governmental Experts Meeting
Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

Opening Statement for the United States Delegation
by Melanie Khanna, Legal Adviser,
Head of Delegation
U.S. Mission to the U.N. and Other International Organizations

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to begin by offering our thanks to you for your continuing efforts to lead us toward consensus in these difficult negotiations. We also extend our thanks to all of the Friends of the Chair for their good work to date.

Mr. Chairman, the United States remains committed to reaching an agreement on a legally binding protocol on Cluster Munitions in the CCW to address their humanitarian impact on civilian populations. In our many rounds of negotiations in Geneva, we have made important progress towards achieving such an agreement—much difficult work has been done, many compromises have been found, and significant areas for further compromise have been identified.

We recognize, especially with the entry into force of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, that some delegations and NGOs may view these negotiations as having no value or even as counterproductive. Some have argued that an agreement on cluster munitions in the CCW that is different from the standard set by the Oslo Convention is not worthwhile. We strongly disagree. A CCW Protocol that imposes meaningful requirements on the countries that are the major users and producers of cluster munitions would be a very important step forward from a humanitarian standpoint.

We realize the work this week will be difficult and that significant differences remain, but our delegation has been giving our outstanding issues a good deal of thought intersessionally and is prepared to actively engage with other interested delegations to find the compromises that will be necessary to reach consensus as soon as possible.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.