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|Sunday, January 21, 2001, updated at 21:09(GMT+8)|
Portugal Surprised at NATO Use of Depleted Uranium in YugoslaviaPortuguese authorities were surprised to learn that depleted uranium munitions had been used in the attacks by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization against Yugoslavia, Prime Minister Antonio Guterres said Saturday.
"It is essential to have a thorough clarification" on the use of DU rounds, Prime Minister Guterres said in a letter addressed to NATO Secretary General George Robertson.
International media have reported cancer related ailments suffered by NATO soldiers who served in Kosovo as part of a phenomenon called the "Balkans syndrome."
Minister of Science and Technology of Portugal Mariano Gago said, "I have no confirmation of the fact, but I am really surprised at the news related to the presence of plutonium in depleted uranium munitions."
Director of the military hospital of Lisbon Col. Bargao dos Santos said that the application of examinations to Portuguese soldiers participating in the peace forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo would show if they had been exposed to radioactive pollution.
The controversy on the use of depleted uranium started in Portugal after the decease of corporal Hugo Paulino last March, who stayed in Kosovo for six months.
Quite a number of servicemen from different countries who were deployed in Kosovo have died of leukemia and other cancer-related diseases.
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