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Defence Chief Warns of Cluster Bomb Treaty Fallout

The Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, Admiral Juhani Kaskeala, says that signing an international treaty banning cluster bombs would significantly weaken the nation's defence and be extremely expensive.

Kaskeala said that signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) could cost Finland more than a billion euros in replacement weapons to defend its 1300-kilometre long border with Russia -- and he called that a conservative estimate.

The treaty is to be signed at a summit conference in Oslo, Norway in early December. That follows a conference in Dublin last May when 107 states decided to prohibit the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions.

Addressing the opening of a defence seminar in Helsinki on Monday, Kaskeala said there is broad international understanding of Finland's position.

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