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Landmines and Cluster Munitions

Volume 454: debated on Thursday 14 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Israeli Government on the use of (a) anti-personnel landmines and (b) cluster munitions in Southern Lebanon. (109126)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not herself discussed the use of anti-personnel landmines or cluster munitions in Southern Lebanon with the Israeli Government.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials continue regularly to raise our concern at the levels of unexploded ordnance in Southern Lebanon, and press the Israeli government to both make a statement about its use of cluster munitions in Lebanon and to do more to help the UN locate and eliminate this threat.

We understand Israel has begun an inquiry into its use of cluster munitions. We hope this will be concluded quickly.

During her recent visit to Beirut, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK is making an additional £1.2 million available to the UN Mines Advisory Service and the Mines Advisory Group for further munitions clearance work in Lebanon. This is comprised of £1 million to UN Mines Advisory Service and £0.2 million to the Mines Advisory Group. The UK has now committed a total of £2,782,000 for de-mining work in Lebanon this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make an assessment of Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law in its use of (a) anti-personnel landmines and (b) cluster munitions in civilian areas in Southern Lebanon. (109127)

The UK continues to raise its concerns with the Israeli Government at the levels of unexploded ordnance in south Lebanon. Recognising Israel’s legitimate right to self-defence, the UK consistently urged Israel, during the conflict with Hezbollah earlier in the summer, to exercise utmost restraint and act in compliance with international humanitarian law.