|Author (Person)||Taylor, Simon|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.3, 18.1.01, p3|
MEPS have called for a temporary ban on use of depleted-uranium munitions until studies into their possible links to increased cancer rates among servicemen are completed.
The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly this week for a moratorium on the weapons and an independent inquiry into the possible health risks. The shells, which were used in the Balkans and the Gulf War, are also included in the EU's planned rapid-reaction force arsenal.
Although the vote is not binding it will increase the pressure on NATO to suspend use of the munitions, which have been at the centre of public outcry after Italy and Portugal reported increased cancer rates among their soldiers.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the decision to ban the munitions was up to NATO but called for all information to be made available to establish if there was a health problem.
"Quite frankly there is no evidence of any link," he told the Parliament. But he added, "We must place great emphasis on openness and transparency ... between the member states of the Union, between the Union and NATO and between NATO, the allies and their partners in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and the governments of the region."
This week NATO set up a medical working group to examine the issue but stressed there was no firm evidence of a link between uranium and cancer.
MEPs have called for a temporary ban on use of depleted-uranium munitions until studies into their possible links to increased cancer rates among servicemen are completed.
|Subject Categories||Health, Security and Defence|