Albanian Daily News
Romania to accept international ruling on pollution damages

Feb 16, 2000

BUCHAREST - Romania said it will accept an international ruling on compensation for damages caused by a cyanide spill that has led authorities in Hungary and Yugoslavia to report widespread devastation from contamination.

European Union and Hungarian officials are due to arrive in Romania on Thursday to begin assessing damages, Romanian officials said. Hungarian authorities said 300 tons of dead fish have been removed from its rivers and though waters are now clean, they’re also now dead, according to the British Broadcasting Corp.’s online news service.

Cyanide spilled into streams after a dam overflowed Feb. 1 at a gold mine near Baia-Mare in northwestern Romania. The spill flowed into the Tisza River in northeastern Hungary then south into Yugoslavia. The poison fell to non-lethal levels Sunday below where the Tisza joins the Danube, near Novi Sad.

"Romania is a perfectly responsible state, and we never said we would refuse paying compensation for damages if it will be determined this was our fault as a state," said Anton Vlad, secretary of state at Romania’s Ministry of Environment, in a telephone interview. "We told this to our Hungarian counterparts on each and every meeting since the accident happened."

European Union legal and environmental experts first have to assess the real damages and establish who should be held responsible for the spill before any conclusions concerning compensations can be reached, Vlad said.

Original article