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[casi] EU resolution against cluster bombs & uranium weapons

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EU Parliament resolution against cluster bombs and uranium weapons

Refer first message to CASI on 2 Dec 2001 - 'Depleted Uranium (DU) Hazards in Iraq and Afghanistan' 
regarding investigations into new guided weapons with suspected Uranium warheads. Full details in 
'Depleted Uranium weapons 2001-2002, Mystery Metal Nightmare in Afghanistan' (January 2002) 
available at

Refer also CASI message on 10 Nov 2002 - 'Uranium weapons and US war plans for Iraq', based on new 
findings detailed in 'Uranium weapons 2001-2003: Hazards of Uranium weapons for Afghanistan and 
Iraq (October 2002)


A number of MEPs have been campaigning against Depleted Uranium weapons for several years. In April 
2002 MEP Paul Lannoye questioned the use of Uranium weapons in Afghanistan in the European 
Parliament (link in References of ).

In October Green Party MEPs requested a briefing about the new Uranium weapons, their suspected use 
in Afghanistan and risks for US war plans in Iraq. They included this latest information, including 
reports of Uranium contamination in Afghanistan, when drafting a new European Parliament resolution 
with other groups.

The hazards of Uranium weapons - radiological bombs - have much in common with international 
concerns about landmines and cluster bombs. Low level radiation exposure can also maim, cripple or 
kill civilians, troops and children years after combat finishes.

The new EU resolution was debated on Wednesday 12th February. Despite a hostile defence of Uranium 
weapons by Commissioner Byrne, actually distorting warnings in the Royal Society report, the 
resolution was passed in Strasbourg on Thursday 13th February - see text at the end of this 
message. I am grateful to all the MEPs and researchers who have treated this subject with such 


See new online presentation Last chance to question US Dirty Bombs for Iraq?

Unlike Europe, neither the UK Parliament, nor the US Congress or Senate, have had any informed 
debate about the secret, high density metal used in new hard target guided weapons and 
sub-munitions. Uranium (depleted or undepleted) is the only economic metal that offers both the 
high density AND incendiary effects required, but at incalculable cost to human life and the 

These hard target guided weapons are essential to the Pentagon's 'Shock and Awe' air strike plans 
for Iraq reported in the New York Times on 2nd February. The suspected warheads contain between 50 
and 5000 kg of the secret metal. If this metal is Uranium then these are large radiological bombs.

The Pentagon plans include 700 cruise and other guided missiles, 6000 JDAM and 3700 other (e.g. 
Paveway III) guided bombs. As in Afghanistan I estimate that at least 30% of these will have hard 
target warheads designed for underground targets and for suspected chemical or biological weapon 

If the secret metal is Uranium then such a Uranium blitz with US Dirty Bombs may spread 1500+ tons 
of radioactive, toxic waste across large areas of Iraq. See the online presentation at This scenario will jeopardise the lives of Iraqi 
civilians, expatriate aid workers and media teams, and of UK, US and other allied troops - friend 
and foe alike.

High levels of so called natural 'background' uranium in target areas may really be contamination 
from undepleted uranium warheads. Uranium oxide dust is very fine and will stay airborne for weeks 
or months, re-suspended by vehicles and summer heat. Like the radiation detected in Greece and 
Hungary during the Balkans bombing, and the "haze over Kabul" during October 2001, a new US bombing 
campaign in Iraq may spread a radioactive haze over large areas of Iraq. With normal winds this is 
most likely to drift into neighbouring countries Kuwait, Saudi and Iran.

A radiological bombing attack on Iraq on this scale risks causing slow genocide for large numbers 
of Iraqis and fratricide (friendly fire killing) for allied forces and aid workers. This may 
already be happening in Afghanistan and for expatriates and refugees who have left since the 
bombing. Health reports on civilians and troops have been very limited but some disturbing 
epidemics have been reported see section 9 in the updated analysis at

The health effects of the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq are already horrific. There is very little time 
left for citizens, politicians and media to prevent a new Uranium nightmare in Iraq.


There is growing evidence of Uranium weapons development. 23 weapon systems are now under 
suspicion. It is absolutely essential to stop US war plans that rely on these weapons since they 
may lead to genocide.

It is the gravest folly for the UK Government to support US military operations using these 
weapons, or to commit UK troops to operate in suspected Uranium target zones, until full and 
rigorous inspections by UN inspectors have been carried out

These UN inspections need to be even more rigorous than in Iraq. They need to include evidence of 
suspected weapon systems dating back to 1985, target areas in Iraq, the Balkans and Afghanistan 
where they have been used, plus Uranium testing and health monitoring for civilians and troops 
exposed to bomb and missile target areas. UN inspectors must expect similar delays, denial and 
deception from the US and other countries as they have experienced in Iraq.

Although most of the suspected systems have been developed in the USA, Uranium arms control 
inspections may need to include up to 20 other countries involved in the development, purchase or 
use of Uranium weapons. These may include the UK, France, Israel, Pakistan, Russia and China. 
Uranium weapons proliferation is a potentially very serious international arms control issue.

This week's EU Parliament resolution linking arms control for cluster bombs and uranium weapons is 
appropriate. But suspected Uranium weapons may represent an even bigger and more serious hazard 
than cluster bombs.

The EU resolution to freeze and investigate Uranium weapons needs immediate and rigorous follow up 
in the UK and many other Parliaments, in the UN Security Council and General Assembly, and in the 
international media. But can this happen fast enough to veto a major US attack on Iraq?

Thank you EU MEPs, and to Alice Mahon and Valerie Davey for brave but brief questions in 
Westminster recently seeking assurances that Uranium or depleted uranium weapons will not be used 
in Iraq.

I hope that the issue of US Dirty Bombs will be raised in today's protests around the world. The 
vital issue for rapid international action is whether media editors will be allowed to start a 
national and international debate about suspected US Dirty Bombs?

In concern for peace and humanity

Dai Williams, independent researcher
Surrey, UK



10 February 2003 [B5-0116/2003 - B5-0131/2003]


pursuant to Rule 42(5) of the Rules of Procedure by:
- Antonios Trakatellis, on behalf of the PPE-DE Group
- Jannis Sakellariou, on behalf of the PSE Group
- Johan Van Hecke and Bob van den Bos, on behalf of the ELDR Group
- Nelly Maes,on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
- Luisa Morgantini, Pernille Frahm and Ilda Figueiredo, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the harmful effects of unexploded ordnance (landmines and cluster 
submunitions) and depleted uranium ammunition

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolution on cluster submunitions and depleted uranium ammunition,

  1.. reaffirming the need to establish moratoriums on these types of ammunition pending a total 

  2.. having regard to the work of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Explosive Remnants of 
War and Anti-Vehicle Mines, which has been discussing and will begin to negotiate in 2003 on 
weapons and weapons systems, including cluster submunitions that produce unexploded ordnance,

  3.. having regard to the excellent progress that the Commission has made in the area of mine 
clearance support,

  4.. having regard to the ongoing use of anti-personnel landmines and anti-vehicle landmines in 
many major armed conflicts; whereas landmines are mainly used in conflicts in which both state and 
non-state armed groups are involved,

  5.. recognising that most EU Member States have signed the Ottawa Treaty to globally ban 
anti-personnel landmines, and hence do not use these types of weaponry any longer; recognising that 
NATO has de facto banned the use of anti-personnel mines,

  6.. whereas cluster submunitions have been and are currently widely used in armed conflicts,

  7.. having regard to the use of depleted uranium ammunition in past military interventions,

  8.. whereas NATO has not banned these types of weapons,

  9.. whereas - whilst acknowledging that international law does not refer specifically to the 
issue of depleted uranium at present - credible efforts are needed to ensure that any use of such 
weapons is not in violation of the Additional Protocol I to the Convention on Conventional Weapons,

  10.. whereas current international law does not cover compensation for possible harmful effects 
from users of such kinds of weapons and weapons systems,

  11.. whereas, furthermore, states, including EU Member States, are willing to aid in the effort 
to address this shortfall by providing assistance, in the form of economic assistance, land 
clearance, social assistance and medical support, to those affected by such weapons,

  12.. whereas EU citizens, civilian and military members of peacekeeping and peace enforcement 
operations, could have been and could continue to become victims of such weapons, in humanitarian 
civilian and military missions and potentially under future ESDP missions,

  13.. whereas the targeting of civilians in any conflict with any weapon is contrary to 
international humanitarian law, and the use of these types of weapons might be considered a war 
crime under the competence of the ICC,

  14.. whereas for the EU, in developing its ESDP and deploying armed forces, it is vital to uphold 
international humanitarian law and arms control to the highest standards,

1. Calls on the Council and the EU Member States to review and monitor the design and development 
of weapons, ensuring that these are in line with the appropriate international law to meet the 
highest international standards against technical misuse, misdeployment, mistargeting and 

2. Calls on the Council and the EU Member States, as well as on NATO and its non-EU Member States, 
to make a public declaration and guarantee that they will not use weapons or weapons systems that 
have been banned or are deemed to be illegal under international law in present or future armed 

3. Calls on the Council and the EU Member States, as well as the applicant states, to fully support 
the Group of Governmental Experts aiming at negotiating a new or amended protocol, within the 1980 
Convention on Conventional Weapons, to tackle the issue of explosive remnants of war, in particular 
so as to achieve benchmarks for speedy assistance to affected victims;

4. Calls on the Council to fully support the Commission's programmes in the area of mine clearance; 
emphasises that these programmes should be extended to the broader area of explosive remnants of 
war; invites the Commission to make a statement on how this could be done;

5. Invites the Commission to issue a communication on this matter outlining in detail how it is 
strengthening its efforts in favour of projects assisting the victims of anti-personnel mines or 
unexploded ordnance (primary care or social and economic reintegration projects) and by what means 
it is encouraging the third countries concerned to set up a national policy towards these victims;

6. Invites the Commission to issue a communication on its assessment of priorities and best 
practice which might be usefully incorporated into any international legal efforts to address the 
issue of unexploded ordnance, in order to support the efforts in Geneva with the States Parties to 
the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons;

7. Asks the Commission, in the light of the results of these scientific investigations on the use 
of DU ammunition, to monitor developments in relation to the possible serious, widespread 
contamination of the environment, as well as an acute or appreciable long-term hazard to human 
health, and to keep it regularly informed;

8. Supports the stepping up of the EU contribution to the fight against anti-personnel landmines, 
and asks the Commission to play a prominent role in fostering cooperation and coordination with the 
Member States, the United Nations and the US and to support effectively coordination between the 
main programmes of activities and the partners on the ground;

9. Calls on the Council and the EU Member States to take all necessary steps to promote the 
universalisation of the 1997 Ottawa Treaty and the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons;

10. Calls for a ban of the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel landmines by 
non-state armed groups; calls on the States Parties to the Ottawa Treaty to incorporate this issue 
in their forthcoming meeting in Bangkok and to support the efforts of specialist NGOs and 
international humanitarian organisations in engaging non-state armed groups in the ban on landmines;

11. Calls on the Council to support independent and thorough investigations into the possible 
harmful effects of the use of depleted uranium ammunition (and other types of uranium warheads) in 
battlefield operations such as in the Balkans, Afghanistan and other regions; stresses that such 
investigations should concern the effects on the soldiers in affected areas as well as the effects 
on civilians and their land; calls for the results of these investigations to be presented to 

12. Requests the EU Member States - in order to play their leadership role in full - to immediately 
implement a moratorium on the further use of cluster ammunition and depleted uranium ammunition 
(and other uranium warheads), pending the conclusions of a comprehensive study of the requirements 
of international humanitarian law;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU 
Member States, all non-EU NATO Member States, the UN Secretary-General and the Organisation for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe.


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