NATO takes steps to diffuse concerns about depleted uranium

NATO adopts measures to allay concerns over the use of depleted uranium munitions.

NATO adopted several measures on 11 January to allay concerns over the use of depleted uranium munitions in its bombing campaigns in former Yugoslavia. However, NATO refused the demand of Italy and Germany to put a moratorium on the use of such munitions.

The following measures were announced after the North Atlantic Council, NATO's highest body, on Wednesday:

  • NATO will fully cooperate with investigations carried out by the nations involved in military operations in the Balkans or by responsible multinational organisations.
  • It will consult fully on this subject with all past and present SFOR and KFOR contributing countries.
  • Allies will make available to each other and more widely all information available to them on any health risks associated with the use of depleted uranium munitions.
  • A NATO working group will be established to act as a clearing house for the exchange of information.

Depleted uranium has been blamed for numerous leukaemia cases among soldiers who served in NATO-led military operations in former Yugoslavia. UK Army documents warned about the dangers of using depleted uranium in munitions four years ago.

However, NATO Secretary General Sir George Robertson insisted there was no evidence of a linkage between the use of depleted uranium and the incidence of cancer in peace-keepers who served in the Balkans.

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