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Pension fund pulls out of cluster bombs

Sunday, June 01, 2008

By MALIN RISING, Associated Press Writer

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden — 

Swedish pension fund AP7 said Sunday it will sell all its holdings in companies making cluster bombs and nuclear weapons, including Airbus parent EADS and U.S.-based Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp.

The fund's chief executive, Richard Grottheim, told The Associated Press the decision would affect the fund's holdings in about 10 companies.

He said the value of the holdings was not large but the decision should be seen as an appeal to other fund managers to reconsider their investments in such companies.

"I expect other pension funds will follow my initiative," he said.

Cluster bombs carpet a battlefield with dozens to hundreds of explosions but often leave behind unexploded ordnance that later maims or kills civilians.

AP7 is one of seven state-owned pension funds in Sweden. It manages pension savings worth around 90 billion kronor ($15 billion).

In an opinion piece in Swedish daily Dagens Nyhter, Grottheim and the chair of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, Anna Ek, wrote that the Swedish government's policy on cluster bombs should support a decision to exclude investments in businesses that develop cluster bombs.

Sweden was among 111 countries Friday in Ireland that adopted a draft treaty banning cluster bombs. The treaty would outlaw all current designs of cluster munitions and require destruction of stockpiles within eight years.

However, the United States and other leading cluster bomb makers _ Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan _ boycotted the talks, emphasized they would not sign the treaty and publicly shrugged off its value.

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