More than 80 states on Friday pledged not to use explosive weapons in residential areas. The Russian government did not sign the agreement in Dublin. Previously, the negotiations had been going on for more than three years.
Irish Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney is confident that implementation of the agreement will change the nature of military operations in residential areas. Signatories are the US, Great Britain, France and Austria. However, Russia, China, India and Israel will not participate. Moreover, the agreement reached, which has been negotiated for more than three years, is not legally binding.
rockets and bombs
Weapons that may no longer be used in residential areas are bombs, rockets, artillery pieces, mortars and other large-scale weapons. Such weapons are currently used, among other things, in the war in Ukraine. They injure and kill thousands of civilians worldwide and destroy infrastructure such as homes, schools and hospitals. According to the UN emergency aid agency OCHA, 50 million people live in cities where fighting is taking place. When explosive weapons are used, most civilians die. They make up 90 percent of the victims.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Milestone for the protection of civilians”
Alexander Kmentt described the new agreement as a “milestone for humanitarian disarmament and the protection of the civilian population,” as Austria’s Foreign Ministry announced on Twitter. Kmentt heads the disarmament department there. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) was unable to attend the Dublin conference itself, but was “proud” of the political statement. “After all, it was Austria that initiated this process with a conference in Vienna in 2019.”
The political statement would be another step in condemning explosive warfare. Although the agreement is not legally binding, signatory states hope it will increase morale and strengthen civil society organizations. Critics accuse Western states of hypocrisy. For example, the military in the US and Great Britain themselves used heavy explosive weapons against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
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