Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 25 June 2019

Summary: Cyprus has made little to no progress toward ratifying the convention, which it signed in 2009. Cyprus has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in September 2018. It abstained from the vote on a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2018.

Cyprus states that it has never used or produced cluster munitions. It transferred a stockpile of cluster munitions to Bulgaria in 2014 for the purposes of destruction, where 2,416 cluster munitions were destroyed in 2018.


The Republic of Cyprus signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 23 September 2009.

In November 2018, Cyprus repeated its long-held position that its ratification of the convention is dependent on first resolving “the abnormal security situation on the island.” [1]

In December 2018, Cyprus abstained from the vote on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 73/54 urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” [2] It has abstained from voting on this annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015. It is one of only two signatories that did not vote in favor of the resolution.

Cyprus participated in one international conference of the Oslo Process to develop the convention text in Vienna in December 2007, but attended the formal negotiations of the convention in Dublin in May 2008 and the Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference in Oslo in December 2008 only as an observer.

Cyprus subsequently signed the convention at the UN in New York in September 2009, becoming the 100th signatory to the convention. Cyprus indicated it would complete ratification following the introduction of the legislation approving ratification in the House of Representatives in 2011. [3] However, in April 2013, a government official informed the Monitor that ratification of the convention had “unfortunately…been put on hold” due to “other considerations.” [4] In May 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to a Monitor query about the status of the ratification by raising “the fact that Turkey, whose occupation forces have been stationed illegally on Cyprus since 1974, has not yet joined the convention.” [5] Since 2011, various government officials have communicated with the Monitor and the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) about the ratification process. [6]

Cyprus has participated in several Meetings of States Parties of the convention, most recently the Eighth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2018. [7]

Cyprus has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2018. [8]

Cyprus is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Cyprus is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use, production, and transfer

Cyprus informed the Monitor in 2012 that it has never used, produced, or transferred cluster munitions. [9]

Stockpiling and destruction

Cyprus has never shared information on its stockpiled cluster munitions or provided a voluntary Article 7 transparency report detailing such information. Instead, information on Cypriot cluster munitions has come from Bulgaria, where they were shipped for destruction.

Cyprus transferred 3,760 4.2-inch OF projectiles containing 2,559 M20G submunitions for the GRM 20 mortar system to Bulgaria in 2014 for the purposes of destruction, according to Bulgaria’s 2017 transparency report for the convention. [10] During 2018, a total of 2,416 of the 4.2-inch OF projectiles were destroyed by private company EXPAL Bulgaria, according to Bulgaria’s April 2019 transparency report. [11] Another 1,344 4.2-inch OF projectiles still need to be destroyed and Bulgaria’s transparentcy report indicates that this destruction process should be “finalized” by 1 October 2019.

Cyprus has 122mm BM-21 Grad multiple launch rockets, but it is not known if these weapons have cluster munition warheads. [12] Cyprus acquired other systems capable of delivering submunitions, including Zuzana 155mm howitzers imported via Greece from Slovakia in 2007 and M63 Plamen and M77 Oganj multiple-barrel rocket launchers from Yugoslavia in the 1980s. [13]

Additionally, in 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official asserted that Turkish armed forces “have stocked considerable quantities of cluster bombs in the occupied territory of the Republic [of Cyprus].” [14]

Cyprus has not indicated if it will retain cluster munitions for research or training.

 [1] Explanation of Vote by Cyprus, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 8 November 2018.

 [2]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 73/54, 5 December 2018.

 [3] Statement of Cyprus, Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Meeting of States Parties, Beirut, 16 September 2011. In May 2011, a government official said that the draft ratification legislation and the text of the convention translated into Greek had been sent to the House of Representatives for approval. Email from Maria Michael, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN in Geneva, 27 May 2011. After its adoption in parliament, the ratification legislation must be signed by the president.

 [4] Letter from Basil Polemitis, Security Policy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director, Arms Division, Human Rights Watch (HRW), 24 April 2013.

 [5] Letter from Elena Rafti, Security Policy Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Mary Wareham, HRW, 27 May 2015.

 [6] In April 2014, a Cypriot representative informed the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) that the ratification process had been put on hold for three years because of the country’s financial situation and International Monetary Fund (IMF) restrictions that inhibit Cyprus from spending funds to meet its anticipated stockpile destruction obligations. CMC meeting with Georgeos S. Yiangou, Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Cyprus to the UN in Geneva, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 10 April 2014. In September 2012, officials said that draft ratification legislation introduced in 2011 was still awaiting parliamentary approval, leaving the ratification process “stalled” but “not suspended.” CMC meeting with George Stavrinou, Attaché, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 13 September 2012.

 [7] Cyprus attended the Meetings of States Parties held in 2011–2012 and 2016–2017. It also participated in the convention’s intersessional meetings in 2011–2013.

 [8]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 73/182, 17 December 2018. Cyprus voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2017.

 [9] Letter from Dr. Kozakou-Marcoullis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Mary Wareham, HRW, 19 April 2012; and email from George Stavrinou, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 17 August 2012.

 [10] Bulgaria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 29 June 2017.

 [11] Bulgaria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 April 2019.

 [12] International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance 2005–2006 (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 117; and Colin King, ed., Jane’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal 2007–2008, CD-edition, 15 January 2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2008).

 [13] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “Arms Transfers Database.” Recipient report for Cyprus for the period 1950–2011, generated on 6 June 2012.

 [14] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Panayiotis Papadopoulos, Counsellor, Political Affairs Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 June 2010.