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Country Reports


The Republic of Albania signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. The Parliament of Albania approved legislation for the ratification of the convention on 5 March 2009, and the President signed it on 19 March.[1] As of mid-April, Albania had not yet formally deposited its instrument of ratification with the UN.

Albania is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and ratified Protocol V on Explosive Remnants of War on 12 May 2006.[2]

Albania has stated that it never has produced, stockpiled, used, or transferred cluster munitions.[3] Cluster munitions were used in Albania during the Balkans conflict in 1999 by forces of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, which affected an entire border area in northeast Albania. As a result, nine people died, 44 were wounded, and an area of 2.1 million m2 was contaminated. [4]

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Albania was not at the initial Oslo Process meeting in Norway in February 2007, but participated in the subsequent international preparatory conferences in Lima, Vienna, and Wellington, as well as the formal negotiations in Dublin. It also attended regional conferences in Belgrade (for affected countries), Brussels, and Sofia. Throughout the Oslo Process, Albania emphasized its experience as an affected country to demonstrate the humanitarian harm caused by cluster munitions.

During the Lima conference in May 2007, Albania called for strong treaty provisions on victim assistance and risk education, building and improving on those in the Mine Ban Treaty.[5] During the Belgrade conference in October 2007, Albania announced the enactment of a moratorium on the production and trade of cluster munitions while the new treaty was being negotiated.[6]

Albania continued to call for strong provisions on victim assistance during the Vienna and Wellington conferences. Albania endorsed the Wellington Declaration indicating its intention to participate in the Dublin negotiations, on the basis of the draft treaty text. However, it also expressed the view that the compendium of proposals put forward by the group of so-called like-minded states should be taken into consideration, so that a more balanced compromise text would emerge in the Dublin conference.[7] The CMC viewed most of the proposals as a significant weakening of the draft text.

Albania participated in the Dublin negotiations and joined the consensus to adopt the convention on 30 May 2008. During the Sofia Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–19 September 2008, Albania publicly announced it would sign the convention in Oslo in December 2008.[8]

Upon signing the convention, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lulzim Basha noted that “the signature of the Convention of Cluster Munitions is a real contribution for a safer and more secure world.” The minister’s speech devoted particular attention to “transparency and to the earliest possible reporting by each member state to the UN Secretary General on the national measures for the implementation, the status and the performance of programs for the clearance and destruction of all sorts and amounts of cluster munitions.” [9] The minister affirmed that “today we are optimistic that we shall succeed in clearing the remaining and unexploded cluster munitions much earlier than the deadlines set in the Convention.” He concluded by committing Albania to a rapid process of ratification.[10]

[1] Email from Portia Stratton, Policy and Research Officer, Landmine Action, 12 March 2009; emails from Jonuz Kola, Executive Director, Victims of Mines and Arms- Kukes Association, 7 March 2009 and 22 April 2009; and email from Arben Braha, Albanian Mine Action Executive, 24 April 2009.

[2] Albania participated in all of the 2008 meetings of the CCW Group of Governmental Experts on a draft proposal for a new protocol on cluster munitions, but Albania made no significant statements on its position on the draft proposal or on the CCW negotiations in general.

[3] Statement by Lulzim Basha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008, www.clusterconvention.org; Rosy Cave, Anthea Lawson, and Andrew Sheriff, Cluster Munitions in Albania and Lao PDR: The Humanitarian and Socio-Economic Impact (Geneva: UN Institute for Disarmament Research, 2006), p. 7, www.mineaction.org.

[4] Statement by Lulzim Basha, Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008, www.clusterconvention.org.

[5] Statement of Albania, Lima Conference on Cluster Munitions, 23 May 2007. Notes by WILPF.

[6] CMC, “Survivors and States Join Forces Against Cluster Bombs,” Press release, 4 October 2007, Belgrade.

[7] Statement of Albania, Wellington Conference on Cluster Munitions, 22 February 2008. Notes by CMC.

[8] Statement of Albania, Sofia Regional Conference on Cluster Munitions, 18–19 September 2008. Notes by Landmine Action.

[9] Statement by Lulzim Basha, Signing Conference, Oslo, 3 December 2008, www.clusterconvention.org.

[10] Ibid.