UN: Agreement reached with Syria on chemical arms probe

Unknown if Syria will give the UN inspectors access to areas that they wish to investigate.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
July 27, 2013 11:10
1 minute read.
A fighter from the Free Syrian Army wears a gas mask in January 2013.

Syrian free army gas mask370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

The United Nations announced that an agreement has been reached with Syria on its investigation into the use of chemical weapons in the country, AFP reported on Saturday.

The brief statement on Friday said, "The discussions were thorough and productive and led to an agreement on the way forward."

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The statement did not give any other details, such as whether Syria would give the UN inspectors access to areas that they wished to investigate.

The head of a UN chemical weapons investigation team arrived in Syria on Wednesday to discuss his inquiry into allegations that chemical arms have been used in Syria's civil war.

The UN team met with Syria's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, according to the AFP report.

Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a Foreign Ministry statement as saying the discussions were "comprehensive and fruitful and led to an agreement on the means of moving forward."

Chief UN inspector Ake Sellstrom's full team has not been allowed into Syria due to diplomatic wrangling over access.

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Sellstrom, a Swede, is accompanied by the head of the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, who said on her arrival in Damascus that their mission was to prepare the ground for an investigation into chemical weapons use.

The team's visit is taking place at the invitation of the Syrian government and its members will meet Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem as well as technical experts.

Damascus has so far refused to let UN investigators go anywhere except Khan al-Assal in Aleppo province, where Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and its Russian ally say rebels used chemical weapons in March.

Both sides deny using chemical weapons.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has insisted that his team be permitted to visit at least one other location, the city of Homs, site of an alleged chemical attack by government forces in December 2012.


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