UN Chief Receives Report on Alleged Chemical Attack in Syria

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has received a report from a group of experts on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria last month and will submit it with the UN Security Council on Monday, his spokesperson said in a statement.

“The report by the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic has been turned over to the Secretary General,” the statement said adding that the report was handed over to the UN chief by Professor Ake Sellstrom, the head of the Mission.

The UN dispatched a team of experts to Syria at the end of last month following reports that hundreds of civilians were killed in a chemical attack outside Damascus on August 21. The UN experts were only tasked with confirming the attack took place, not naming the perpetrators.

The statement also said that Ban Ki-moon will brief the Security Council on the report on Monday during closed consultations and the report will be also made available on the same day “on the website of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.”

The United States and its Western allies have blamed the August 21 attack – the latest in a string of reported instances of chemical weapons use in Syria – on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Washington threatening with military action against his forces.

Damascus has claimed the attack was the work of rebels hoping to incite foreign intervention, a stance increasingly backed by Moscow.

Last week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry started negotiations over a bid to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control – an initiative proposed by Moscow to avoid US military strikes on Syria.

In a response to the Russian proposal, Damascus officially submitted a request to join the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention last week on Thursday, an agreement that commits its members to destroying their chemical weapons stockpiles.

 

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