A group of 50 nations led by Norway, Austria and Mexico has defeated a U.S. effort to enact a worldwide ban on cluster munitions produced before 1980.
Two weeks of diplomatic talks ended late Friday night with the U.S. government saying it was "deeply disappointed by the failure."
The U.S. mission to the U.N. in Geneva said in a statement Saturday its proposal would have reined in about 85 percent of the world's stockpiles of cluster bombs, artillery shells and missiles.
But opponents including activist groups say that would undermine an international law that took effect last year to phase out cluster weapons, which are packed with "bomblets" that scatter indiscriminately and often harm civilians.
More than 60 nations have adopted the law so far.