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NATO confirms DU used in the Balkans
March 21, 2000, Filed at 6:31 a.m. EST
By The Associated Press
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- NATO's secretary-general, responding to 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 today 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.
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