[JURIST] The UK Ministry of Defence [official website] announced [press release] Tuesday that British armed forces will no longer use certain types of cluster bombs [JURIST news archive; FAS backgrounder]. UK Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne [official profile] said the military will still use "smart" cluster bombs with self-destruct mechanisms in an attempt to strike a balance between providing troops with adequate weapons and protecting civilians.
In February, Britain was one of 46 countries at the Oslo Conference on Cluster Munitions [conference materials] that pledged to develop a new international treaty [JURIST report; Norwegian government press release] to ban the use of cluster bombs by 2008. Representatives from the US did not attend the Oslo conference and subsequently rejected the international call [JURIST report] to ban the use of cluster bombs. AFP has more.