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Tuesday, 15 August, 2000, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Danube swimmer crawls towards goal
Danube swimmer Martin Strel
Halfway there: Martin Strel is heading for Serbia
A man attempting to swim the length of the River Danube is heading for his next major milestone - the Serbian town of Novi Sad.

Martin Strel has already reached the Croatian town of Vukovar after a journey which has so far taken him along some 1,500km (950 miles) of the river.

His arrival in Vukovar was greeted with enough excitement for the country's deputy foreign minister, Vesna Cvjetkovic-Kurelec, to turn out to welcome him.

Mr Strel, from Slovenia, is attempting his epic journey of 2,860km (1,773 miles) in a campaign to promote peace, friendship and free navigation on the river.

The Slovenian Foreign Minister, Lojze Peterle, also travelled to Vukovar to join the welcome party on Sunday.

And the Romanian Foreign Minister, Petre Roman, has said he will join Mr Strel once he crosses the border into Romania.

Novi Sad will be Mr Strel's next major port of call.

Cyanide

His journey through Serbia will take him along stretches of the river clogged by debris from bridges which were bombed during last year's Nato air strikes.

He will also pass through areas which were at the centre of a major pollution incident last winter.

Tonnes of cyanide residue poured from a Romanian gold mine into the Tisza river in Romania, and were then washed into the Danube and finally the Black Sea.

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See also:

15 Sep 99 | Americas
Marathon girl swims to Cuba
10 Jul 00 | Europe
Hungary seeks pollution damages
27 Mar 00 | Europe
New bridge over the Danube
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