Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 13 September 2021


Cyprus signed the convention in 2009 and last progressed towards ratifying in 2013. It was one of just two signatories to the convention to abstain from the December 2020 vote on a key annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the implementation of the convention. Cyprus has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in November 2020.

Cyprus stated that it has never used or produced cluster munitions. It transferred a stockpile of 3,760 cluster munitions to Bulgaria in 2014 that were destroyed in 2018–2019. It has not indicated if this constituted destruction of all of its stocks.


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

In November 2020, Cyprus repeated its long-held position that it will not ratify the convention until it resolves “the abnormal security situation on the island.”[1] In 2011, Cyprus said it pledged to ratify the convention after securing parliamentary approval.[2] However, in 2013, Cyprus said that ratification of the convention had been put “on hold.”[3] Since then the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to queries on the status of the ratification by raising its objection to “the fact that Turkey, whose occupation forces have been stationed illegally on Cyprus since 1974, has not yet joined the convention.”[4]

Cyprus participated in one international conference of the Oslo Process to develop the convention text in Vienna in December 2007. However, it 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 has participated in several meetings of States Parties of the convention, most recently the first part of the Convention on Cluster Munitions Second Review Conference held virtually in November 2020.[5]

In December 2020, Cyprus was one of only two signatoriesto the Convention on Cluster Munitions to abstain from the vote on UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 75/62, which calls on all states outside the convention to “join as soon as possible.”[6] Cyprus has abstained from voting on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015. Each year, Cyprus explains that its abstention is due to its “abnormal security situation.”

Cyprus has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria, most recently in December 2020.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] During 2018, private company EXPAL Bulgaria destroyed 2,416 of the projectiles, while the rest (1,344 4.2-inch OF projectile) were destroyed in August 2019.[10]

It is unclear if the destruction of the 4.2-inch OF projectiles means that Cyprus has completed the destruction of all its stockpiled cluster munitions, as it has never made a public statement on this topic. Cyprus possesses 122mm BM-21 Grad multiple launch rockets, but it is not known if these weapons have cluster munition warheads.[11] 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.[12]

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].”[13]

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

[1] Statement of Cyprus, UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 6 November 2020.

[2] 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. In September 2012, officials said that draft ratification legislation introduced in 2011 was still awaiting parliamentary approval and called the ratification process “stalled” but “not suspended.” Cluster Munition Coalition (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.

[3] 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.

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

[5] Cyprus attended the meetings of States Parties held in 2011–2012 and 2016–2018. It also participated in the convention’s intersessional meetings in 2011–2013.

[6]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 75/62, 7 December 2020.

[7]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 75/193, 16 December 2020. Cyprus voted in favor of similar resolutions in 2013–2019.

[8] 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.

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

[10] Bulgaria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 30 April 2019; Bulgaria, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form B, 25 April 2020. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database.

[11] 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).

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

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