Arms Trade Cluster munitions Spain United Nations

Spanish Government and Cluster Munitions

Under pressure from a Human Rights Investigations probe into cluster bombs, the usually secretive Spanish government has released some limited information regarding their exports of cluster bombs.

Spanish government information shows 2,271 MAT-120s were stockpiled on 2 December 2008 and 1,852 were destroyed by the end of 2008 with 419 retained.

Latest Spanish Government Claims

According to US ex-marine CJ Chivers, writing in The New York Times, Ramon Muro Martinez, Spain’s Deputy Director General for Foreign Trade of Defence Materials and Dual Use Goods has claimed that:

“No Spanish cluster munitions have been exported to the United States.”

No documents to prove the statement have been produced as yet and Mr Chivers has not yet divulged the full texts of the emails. The Spanish government refuses to reveal details of the role of Naval Station Rota and has failed to respond to the questions posed by HRI directly and in “Spanish Bombs in Andalucia.”

HRI has called for the release of details of all exports of cluster munitions by Spain – as well as the details of transfers of munitions to US Naval Station Rota.

On 8th June, according to CJ Chivers, Ramon Muro Martinez also claimed:

“One license to Lybia consisting of 5 cluster munitions for demonstration was issued in August 2006. The export took place in October 2006. There were two more licenses issued in December 2007 with a total amount of 1,050 cluster munitions. They were sent in March 2008.”

“All the licenses were submitted to a special scrutiny and the exports took place before the approval of a moratorium decided by the Spanish Government on the 11th July 2008 and the signature of the Oslo Convention on the 3rd December 2008.”

In a follow-up e-mail on the same day, Snr Martinez apparently confirmed that the cluster munitions were the MAT-120 rounds manufactured by Instalaza SA.

Another ministry official, Ana Terreros Gomez, according to Chivers, claimed the government of Libya had submitted an end-user certificate, or EUC, for MAT-120 rounds to the government of Spain.

“EUC issued by the Libya authorites was authenticated by the Spanish Embassy in Tripoli November 28th 2007.”

Joan Clos i Matheu, former Spanish Industry Minister

Joan Clos i Matheu was Spain’s Industry Minister September 2006 – July 2008, and has now moved on to be Under Secretary General of the United Nations.

Destruction of the Stockpile

According to a letter from the Spanish Foreign Minister on Cluster Munitions a 4.9 million euros contract was signed with Fabricaciones Extremeňas SA (FAEX), of the Maxam Industrial Group to dismantle and destroy the stockpile of cluster muniitons.

The Maxam Group is the owner of Expal (aka as the “Living Death”) who we have mentioned before in relation to their manufacture of cluster bombs and land mines and appears close to current Spanish Industry Minister, who was seen on 13 April 2011 in Beijing lobbying the Chinese government on their behalf.

Table of Spanish cluster munition destruction and retention:

Stockpiled on
2 December 2008
Destroyed by31 December 2008 Destroyed by18 March 2009 Retained
120mm mortar projectile ESPIN-21
(contains 21 submunitions)
120mm mortar projectile MAT-120
(contains 21 submunitions)
CBU-100 Rockeye bomb
(contains 247 submunitions)
CBU-99B Rockeye bomb
(contains 247 submunitions)
BME-330 B/AP bomb
(contains 28 submunitions)
Total munitions
(submunition total)

1 Spain will retain an additional 40 SNA submunitions from two BME-330B/AP bombs.

2 replies on “Spanish Government and Cluster Munitions”

Update: This article has been updated as the earlier version contained incorrect information based on an article in the Cluster Munitions Monitor (CCM), which has then been republished in various publications. The CMM article was based on a misreading of the original letter from Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to Stephen Goose, Acting Director of the Arms Division, Human Rights Watch. The correct date for the stockpiles was 02/12/2008 (meaning 2nd December 2008 not 12 February 2008 – a fairly easy mistake to make, especially for an American.)

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