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Iraq demands UK compensation for Gulf War (fwd)

                      Iraq demands UK compensation for Gulf War

                      28 May 1998

                      BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq Wednesday
                      demanded compensation from Britain over
                      its use of depleted uranium shells in the Gulf

                      Britain said it had not been given details of
                      the claim and had not seen any evidence to
                      suggest that the shells were to blame for
                      illnesses reported by people living in
                      southern Iraq. 

                      Depleted uranium is used to harden
                      ammunition, making it highly effective in
                      piercing tank armor. It is not seen as a
                      radioactive weapon, but it can be toxic. 

                      The Iraqi News Agency INA said the
                      complaint relating to the activities of British
                      forces in the 1991 war to eject Iraq from
                      Kuwait was filed Tuesday by Iraqi Foreign
                      Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf to U.N.
                      Secretary-General Kofi Annan. 

                      The letter focused on "a new and additional
                      admission" by the British Foreign Office on
                      April 30 in an official statement that "British
                      tanks used depleted uranium shells during
                      the Gulf War on orders from the British
                      Ministry of Defense." 

                      "This new admission asserts previous
                      confirmations made by official and unofficial
                      British and U.S. organizations that the
                      coalition troops committed annihilation
                      crimes punishable by international law," the
                      letter said. 

                      "Scientific studies and research have
                      unequivocally shown that the United States
                      and Britain used depleted uranium in their
                      military operations against Iraq, exposing
                      vast areas to fatal radioactive pollution." 

                      "A number of diseases, unfamiliar in the past,
                      have been registered, such as fetal and bone
                      deformities and other cases that cannot be
                      explained, such as loss of hair and strange
                      skin diseases. 

                      "Individuals living in the bombarded areas
                      suffer from such diseases, in addition to
                      rising cases of child leukemia," INA quoted
                      the letter as saying. 

                      A spokesman for the British Defense Ministry
                      said the government had not been
                      approached by the Iraqis seeking
                      compensation for damage caused by
                      depleted uranium shells and had not been
                      given details of any claim. 

                      The use of depleted uranium shells by British
                      forces had been well-known since 1991, the
                      spokesman said. 

                      "The government has seen no evidence that
                      the ill health reported among the population
                      of southern Iraq is a result of the use of
                      depleted uranium shells," the spokesman

                      Britain would, however, consider any medical
                      evidence on the subject. 

                      Britain is believed to have fired fewer than
                      100 depleted uranium rounds, according to
                      British media reports. 

                      British troops were part of the U.S.-led allied
                      coalition that drove invading Iraqi troops
                      from Kuwait. 

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