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NO EVACUATION SET AT NATO CENTER DESPITE ASBESTOS

NATO will not move out of its Brussels headquarters despite the recent discovery of cancer-causing asbestos in parts of the sprawling 1960s building, the alliance said Wednesday.

However, NATO faces a security headache as private contractors are called in to carry out a search of its nerve center to uncover the extent of the contamination.

"Every inch of this building is going to be checked," said NATO spokesman James Appathurai.

He told reporters that areas where asbestos had been detected were isolated to minimize the health risk to the 3,300 people working in the building.

"All work in the areas where we know of or suspect the presence of asbestos has been halted," Appathurai said. "The necessary precautions have been taken."

He stressed that there have been no recorded cases of asbestos-related illness at the building, which NATO has occupied since the late 1960s. NATO moved to Brussels after it was forced out of Paris by then-French President Charles de Gaulle.

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