United Nations to make more tests in Kosovo: “We must not repeat the mistakes of Chernobyl”

The leader of the UN Programme for the Environment in Kosovo, Pekka Haavisto, stated yesterday that it is necessary to perform more tests on the population in Kosovo. He said that mistakes had been made in the past through not following up tests on the ground with epidemiological tests on the population, since cancers normally start to appear five to ten years after exposure. He mentioned the Chernobyl situation as an example, although it should be pointed out that with hindsight, it is easy to draw conclusions: at the time of Chernobyl, scientific knowledge was not what it is today. It is a fact that many of the cancers appearing in UN soldiers are found in those who served in Bosnia in 1995. This would seem to prove the five-year rule. Many press reports about leukaemia and cancer mention “soldiers in the Balkans”, not necessarily Kosovo. Here, however, the problem will arise, precisely in 2005/6. These new tests performed by UNO teams come in the light of European Parliament preoccupations “to follow closely the sanitary state of the populations exposed” to NATO’s depleted uranium and plutonium weapons. The first tests will be made in Bosnia, where three tons of depleted uranium and plutonium was dropped by NATO warplanes. “We must not make the same mistake that was made in Chernobyl and not perform reliable tests in quantity”, said Haavisto. It is supposed that there will be a second round of testing made in Kosovo and that Iraq will also not be forgotten. It will be remembered that numerous cases of malformation and cancer have started to appear in the Gulf, where American planes dropped enough radioactive material to kill 500,000 people, according to a British scientific report.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON