Source AP ©

Serbia informed about cluster bomb locations

Belgrade was given by NATO a list of locations hit with cluster bombs during the 1999 air war against Serbia Tuesday, the Foreign ministry said.

The ministry said in a statement that Serbia had received the information at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

"The received information is of utmost importance for the project of clearing up of locations that were contaminated by unexploded cluster munition," the ministry said.

The statement added that existence of unexploded cluster bombs "jeopardizes the safety of the civilian population eight years after the bombing campaign."

NATO launched a bombing campaign against Serbia in March 1999 to stop an onslaught ordered by then-President Slobodan Milosevic against the ethnic Albanian separatist rebels in Kosovo. The air war lasted 78 days before Milosevic capitulated.

During more than three months of bombing, NATO targeted mostly military targets, but also destroyed much of Serbia's infrastructure, including several key civilian bridges.

Hundreds of people were killed in. The alliance faced criticism for dropping bombs with depleted uranium as well as cluster bombs, which eject a number of smaller "bomblets."

The foreign ministry said in its statement that it will need help from international organizations for the cleanup operation. It added that NATO decision to reveal the cluster bomb locations was the result of recent increased cooperation that followed Serbia's accession to NATO'S outreach Partnership for Peace program.

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