DUBLIN, Ireland - Chief negotiators of a landmark treaty banning cluster bombs predicted Friday that the United States will never again use the weapons, a critical component of American air and artillery power.
The treaty formally adopted Friday by 111 nations, including many of America's major NATO partners, would outlaw all current designs of cluster munitions and require destruction of stockpiles within eight years. It also opens the possibility that European allies could order U.S. bases located in their countries to remove cluster bombs from their stocks.
The United States and other leading cluster bomb makers — Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan — boycotted the talks, emphasized they would not sign the treaty and publicly shrugged off its value. All defended the overriding military value of cluster bombs, which carpet a battlefield with dozens to hundreds of explosions.