As the Deputy will recall from my reply of 15 May, the Defence Forces do not possess armaments of the type referred to by him. Specifically, the issue of cluster bombs and depleted uranium in relation to the capabilities, including munitions, offered by member states in the context of the Rapid Reaction Force has not been discussed during any of the meetings of the EU Defence Ministers held to date.
As I also mentioned in my reply of 15 May, the planning process for a Petersberg Task operation includes the drafting of a concept of operations, which includes the operation plan and rules of engagement for the respective mission. This plan is specifically tailored to the nature of the proposed operation. It is at this stage that the specific military capabilities which would be required are identified and member states have the opportunity to raise any concerns regarding the deployment or use of weapons which might be contributed to the operation by participating countries. I should add that in accordance with EU crisis management procedures the concept of operations is then submitted to the Council for approval by unanimity. The hazards posed by unexploded cluster bombs in a post-conflict context is of serious concern to the international community, which is endeavouring to address this question through discussions within the framework of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. In December 2002, state parties to the convention agreed to give a mandate to a group of governmental experts to negotiate a new instrument on post-conflict remedial measures of a generic nature which reduce the risks of explosive remnants of war.