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Last Updated: 16 July 2013

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

The State of Kuwait has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The current status of Kuwait’s views on joining the ban convention is not known. Kuwait first publicly articulated its views on cluster munitions in September 2011 in a statement to States Parties that said the convention “includes important humanitarian, social, economic dimensions that oblige the international community to put forward suitable solution [sic] to end future use of this weapon.” Kuwait said that it is committed to meeting its obligations as a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty as swiftly as possible.[1]

A government representative informed the Monitor in September 2011 that Kuwait fully supports the humanitarian aspects of the convention and relevant authorities were studying the convention and the positions of neighboring countries.[2]

In 2009 and 2010, Kuwait has said that it supports the humanitarian aspects of the convention and is studying the implications of joining.[3]

Kuwait participated in the Oslo Process to develop the convention, including as an observer in the Dublin negotiations in May 2008.[4]

Kuwait has continued to participate in meetings related to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It participated as an observer in the convention’s First Meeting of States Parties in Vientiane, Lao PDR in November 2010 and the Second Meeting of States Parties in Beirut, Lebanon in September 2011, but did not attend the convention’s Third Meeting of States Parties in Oslo in September 2012. Kuwait attended the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in April 2012 and 2013.

Kuwait has not made a national statement to express concern at Syria’s cluster munition use, but it voted in favor of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on 15 May 2013 that strongly condemned “the use by the Syrian authorities of...cluster munitions.”[5]

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

While Kuwait is not known to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions, it has a stockpile. In 1995, Kuwait was the first export customer for the Russian-produced Smerch 300mm multiple launch rocket system fitted with dual-purpose and sensor-fuzed submunitions, buying 27 launch units.[6] Additionally, Jane’s Information Group lists Kuwait as possessing the Hydra-70 air-to-surface unguided rocket system, but it is not known if this stockpile includes the M261 multipurpose submunition variant.[7]

The United States (US) may stockpile clusters munitions in Kuwait, according to a US diplomatic cable dated May 2007.[8]


[1] Statement of Kuwait, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 14 September 2011, www.clusterconvention.org/files/2011/09/statement_kuwait.pdf.

[2] Interview with Zeyad al-Mashan, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Kuwait to the UN in Geneva, in Beirut, 14 September 2011. Of Kuwait’s neighbors, Iraq is a State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, while Iran and Saudi Arabia have not joined the convention.

[3] CMC meeting with the Kuwaiti delegation to the Convention on Cluster Munitions First Meeting of States Parties, Vientiane, 9 November 2010; ICBL meeting with the Kuwaiti delegation to the Mine Ban Treaty Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 30 November–4 December 2009.

[4] For details on Kuwait’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), p. 220. In September 2011, Wikileaks released a United States (US) Department of State cable showing that in a 22 May 2007 meeting the US asked Kuwait to “reconsider” its participation in the Lima conference on cluster munitions. Kuwait did not attend the Lima conference, which was held on 23–25 May 2007. “U.S.-Kuwait Gulf Security Dialogue Talks,” US Department of State cable dated 5 June 2007, released by Wikileaks on 1 September 2011, www.cablegatesearch.net/search.php?q=cluster+munitions&qo=13824&qc=0&qto=2010-02-28.

[5] “The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/67/L.63, 15 May 2013, www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2013/ga11372.doc.htm.

[6] “Kuwait to get smart submunitions for Smerch MRL,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 21 April 1995.

[7] Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal, CD-edition, 10 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

[8] The cable contains the text of a message sent from a US military advisor to United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities concerning a transfer of “ammunition immediately via US Air Force aircraft from Kuwait stockpile to Lebanon.” With respect to the items to be transferred, the cable states: “The United States will not approve any cluster munitions or white phosphorus.” “Follow-up on UAE response to Lebanese request for emergency aid, US Department of State cable 07ABUDHABI876 dated 24 May 2007, released by Wikileaks on 1 September 2011, www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=07ABUDHABI876&q=cluster%20munitions.