Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 14 August 2022


Cyprus signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2009 but has not made any progress to ratify it over the past decade. It abstained from the December 2021 vote on the key annual United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the implementation of the convention. Cyprus has participated in several meetings of the convention, most recently in September 2021.

Cyprus has stated that it has never used or produced cluster munitions. It transferred a stockpile of 3,760 cluster munitions to Bulgaria in 2014, which were destroyed in 2018–2019. Cyprus has not indicated whether it has additional stocks to destroy or if it intends to retain any cluster munitions for research and training purposes.


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

In November 2021, Cyprus repeated its long-held position that it cannot ratify the convention until it resolves “the abnormal security situation on the island.”[1] Initially, in 2011, Cyprus pledged to ratify the convention swiftly after securing parliamentary approval.[2] However, its ratification of the convention was put “on hold” in 2013.[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. It attended the formal negotiations of the convention in Dublin in May 2008, but attended the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 only as an observer.

Cyprus subsequently signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions 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, and attended the convention’s Second Review Conference held in November 2020 and September 2021.[5]

In December 2021, Cyprus and Uganda were the only signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to abstain from voting on United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 75/62, which called 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. Cyprus has explained that it abstains 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] As of May 2022, Cyprus has not independently condemned or expressed concern over the use of cluster munitions in Ukraine.[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, and had not provided a voluntary Article 7 transparency report for the convention. Instead, information on cluster munitions stockpiled by Cyprus 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 destruction, according to Bulgaria’s 2017 Article 7 transparency report.[10] During 2018, private company EXPAL Bulgaria destroyed 2,416 of the projectiles, while the remaining 1,344 were destroyed in August 2019.[11]

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.[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 imported 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 whether it has retained any cluster munitions for research or training.

[1] Statement of Cyprus, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 2 November 2021. See, UN, “First Committee Approves 8 Drafts, Continuing Action Phase, as Delegates Differ over Definition of Legitimate Arms Control Treaties,” 2 November 2021.

[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, Advocacy Director, Arms Division, 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 held in 2011–2013.

[6]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 76/47, 7 December 2021.

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

[8] As a member state of the European Union (EU), Cyprus has endorsed EU statements condemning the use of cluster munition attacks in Ukraine. Statement of the EU, UN Security Council, New York, 7 March 2022.

[9] Letter from Dr. Kozakou-Marcoullis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director, Arms Division, 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. See, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Database.

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

[12] International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), 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: Jane’s Information Group, 2008).

[13] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 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.