OT US Jets Fired Depleted Uranium Rounds on Serbs, NATO Says

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (March 21, 2000 6:42 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com)

NATO's secretary-general, answering a query from the United Nations, has confirmed that American jets operating over Kosovo last year fired 31,000 depleted uranium rounds at Yugoslav armored vehicles.

Lord Robertson wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Feb. 7, saying that American A-10 ground attack aircraft used armor-piercing depleted uranium rounds against Serb armored vehicles during NATO's 78-day air campaign last spring. The ammunition was part of the aircraft's standard load, he said.

The U.N. Environmental Program scheduled a news conference Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the issue.

Some specialists believe the rounds, which have been used as far back as the Persian Gulf War, are environmentally harmful.

In the past, the U.S. Defense Department has robustly defended the use of depleted uranium - which provides enhanced armor-piercing capability - saying the rounds pose no more health risk than conventional anti-tank weapons.

The round, Robertson said, uses a non-critical byproduct of the uranium refining process.

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), March 21, 2000


There were some stories here a couple months ago about DU used in Iraq. It got in the air and coated the countryside. There's been a dramatic increase in birth defects in children born after the war. One British soldier whose only exposure was six hours surveying a battle field has uranium levels 140 times higher than normal 10 years after.

-- John (littmannj@aol.com), March 22, 2000.

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