CEOL
Hungary rejects Romanian claim over dead fish

BUDAPEST, Feb 26, 2000 -- (AFP) Hungary Friday rejected assertions by neighboring Romania that a cyanide spill was not responsible for killing more than 100 tonnes of fish in the Tisza river.

"I find it extremely irresponsible if any Romanian official expert or government official makes such allegations," Hungarian foreign ministry spokesman Gabor Horvath told AFP.

Horvath was speaking after repeated Romanian charges that Hungary has exaggerated the damage done by a cyanide spill from the Australian-Romanian Aurul gold mining complex at Baia Mare in Romania, or that Hungary killed the fish by pouring bleach into the water to neutralize the cyanide.

"So far, no analysis has proved that the fish presented as victims of the pollution from the district of the Aurul mine in Romania have been killed by cyanide," Romanian Environment Ministry official George Lazea said according to Romania's Mediafax news agency.

The Romanian economic daily Capital, quoting unnamed foreign ministry sources, said that Hungary, for fear of the cyanide, has poured too much bleach (natrium-hypochloride) into the water, and that killed the fish.

"This is a malevolent charge against Hungary," Hungarian environment ministry spokesman Gabor Koller M. told AFP Friday.

"Hungary rejects the charge that it poured cyanide, bleach or any other chemical into the water. ... Hungary is not suicidal to destroy its own rivers for years," he said.




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