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UK: allies free to use depleted uranium in Libya if they wish

UK Defence Minister Dr Liam Fox says UK use of DU in Libya unlikely but says that allies are free to use it if they wish to.
15 April 2011 - ICBUW

caroline lucas Responding to a parliamentary question from UK Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, the Defence Minister Dr Liam Fox has stated that it is unlikely that the UK will use DU in the Libya conflict because they do not foresee UK Challenger tanks being deployed. Challenger 2 tanks can fire the UK's only type of DU ammunition, the 120mm CHARM3 round.

Lucas also asked whether there had been discussions among the coalition taking military action as to whether DU could be used. This question was sidestepped with a claim that other nations are free to choose whatever munitions they wish to engage armoured targets in Libya.


[52204] Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the US Administration and (b) the governments of other countries forming the coalition for military action in Libya on policy on the use of depleted uranium weapons; and how that policy (a) is applied to and (b) will apply in operations in Libya.   

[51481] Dr Liam Fox: The Government's policy is that depleted uranium (DU) can be used within weapons. It is not prohibited under current or likely future international agreements. The UK's armed forces use all munitions in accordance with international humanitarian law. It would be quite wrong to deny our serving personnel a legitimate and effective capability.The only DU munition in service with our armed forces is the Charm 3 antitank round fired from the Challenger 2 tank. With no deployed ground forces it follows that none of the weapons supplied to UK armed forces for uses over Libya contain DU.Other nations may choose to use DU munitions fired from aircraft guns against armoured targets if they have that capability but that is a choice for them alone to make.