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Britain is to take cluster bombs out of service, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said.
The announcement came after he said diplomats in Dublin were "very close" to reaching an international treaty banning their use.
Mr Brown called it a "big step forward to make the world a safer place" and said he hoped more states would follow.
But some of the world's main producers and stockpilers - including the US, Russia and China - oppose the move.
British soldiers fighting alongside American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq would face criminal prosecution if the government goes ahead with plans to sign a treaty limiting the use of cluster bombs, senior US diplomats have warned.
Gordon Brown’s government is on another collision course with the Bush administration because American officials are concerned that the UK may trade expose British troops to possible legal action, to placate critics
of cluster bombs. Mr Brown has already irritated the White House by keeping his distance diplomatically and reducing British troop numbers in Iraq.