YU report says contamination 1,000 times above normal after bombing

Belgrade, April 14, 2000 (Tanjug) - The Yugoslav government, at Thursday's [13th April] session chaired by Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic, approved a report on the effects on the environment of NATO's air strikes on Yugoslavia last spring, a government statement said.

Evidence collected and analyses made by local institutes have shown that the NATO aggressors used ammunition with depleted uranium, among others, which is a crime against humanity punishable under the international law of war.

Analyses of individual samples showed contamination levels up to a thousand times above normal, the government said, noting that the use of ammunition with depleted uranium is in violation of the fundamental norms of international humanitarian and war law.

The competent bodies and services have investigated and marked contaminated areas, and removed radioactive materials from all accessible locations, significantly lowering the threat of contamination.

People in high-risk areas have been medically examined, while complete decontamination is yet to be done and necessitates huge financial outlays.

However, no checks have been made at a hundred or so localities in the UN-ruled Serbian (Yugoslav) province of Kosovo-Metohija, where the number of depleted uranium warheads dropped was 10 times higher than elsewhere.

This puts the environment and the local population, including the international force (KFOR [Kosovo Force]) and the UN civilian mission (UNMIK [UN Mission in Kosovo]), particularly at risk from radioactive contamination, the statement said.

The government defined specific measures for alleviating the consequences as much as possible.

The government also reviewed a report on efforts to prevent flooding of the River Tamis.

It noted that, in cooperation with the competent Romanian bodies, adequate measures have been taken to reduce the water levels and flow in the Romanian sector of the river and to consolidate the dikes and protect the people and industry on the Yugoslav side.

The high-risk Secanj municipality has been granted 2m dinars (One US dollar fetches roughly 11 dinars) in aid to finance the necessary antiflood operations, the statement said.

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