Italy Won´t Silence Vatican Radio, for Now

More Talks Planned Over Antenna Controversy

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ROME, APR. 10, 2001 ( For the time being, Italy will not stop Vatican Radio from transmitting through its antennas, the focus of allegations of electromagnetic contamination.

«No decisions have been taken; it was simply said that Italian law must be respected,» the undersecretary of the Healthy Ministry, Ombretta Fumagalli Carulli said, according to Reuters. It was decided to hold another joint committee meeting of Vatican and Italian officials, she added.

Fumagalli spoke to reporters after attending a meeting with Prime Minister Giuliano Amato, Environment Minister Willer Bordon and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini.

Bordon had accused Vatican Radio of exceeding Italian laws on radiation and of being a health hazard. Last month he threatened to cut off electricity to Vatican Radio´s transmission center located near Rome. Residents complained that the forest of large antennas has resulted in a higher incidence of leukemia in the area.

Other government ministers objected, and said that Bordon did not have the authority to sign an ordinance cutting off electricity to the transmitters, which are located on Vatican territory and, therefore, are part of a sovereign state. Dini was known to have criticized Bordon privately, saying he could not make unilateral threats to a sovereign state.

Health Minister Umberto Veronesi, a non-Catholic, has openly discredited Bordon´s position over the past three days, saying that his statements and measures are not based on scientific arguments, but are simply political. Today Veronesi announced the creation of an international scientific team to study the real effects of electromagnetic contamination.

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