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NATO: Ambassadors To Discuss 'Balkan Syndrome'

Brussels, 10 January 2001 (RFE/RL) -- NATO members plan to meet today to discuss the use of depleted uranium munitions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Yesterday, NATO's North Atlantic Council refused to grant an Italian request for a moratorium on the use of the ammunition. But the council agreed to monitor medical testing of peacekeepers who served in the region, now underway in several European countries.

NATO members are irate about a number of cancer cases, some fatal, among former Balkan peacekeepers which they say could be linked to the use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions.

NATO and medical experts have repeatedly denied any link between the use of DU munitions and the incidence of cancer.

Britain yesterday reversed its decision not to test veterans. It now will offer screening to Kosovo and Bosnian war veterans for signs of illness.

But Britain also said that there is no medical evidence of a risk from depleted uranium ammunition, which will remain part of Britain's arsenal.