UN in talks with Syria over alleged chemical attack

President of 15-nation UN Security Council this month says council will hold an emergency meeting Tuesday.

By REUTERS
August 21, 2013 20:34
2 minute read.
Boy allegedly affected by chemical weapons in Syria, August 21

Boy allegedly affected by chemical weapons in Syria 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

UNITED NATIONS - Chief UN chemical weapons inspector Ake Sellstrom is in discussions with the Syrian government over an

"Today, we are formally requesting that the United Nations urgently investigate this new allegation," White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. "The UN investigative team, which is currently in Syria, is prepared to do so, and that is consistent with its purpose and mandate."

Russia's Foreign Ministry called for a fair and professional investigation into reports that troops loyal to Assad were responsible for the suspected attack.

But Moscow suggested that rebels could have staged the alleged assault to provoke international action.

It was not immediately clear how the Syrian government would respond to requests to allow Sellstrom's team to investigate the alleged incident. The United Nations and Assad's government were in talks for months before an agreement led to the arrival of Sellstrom's team in Damascus this week.

The United States will consult with its partners on the United Nations Security Council about reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, a White House spokesman said.

US officials also have not yet been able to independently verify reports about the use of such weapons in Syria by government forces, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a briefing.

In an earlier statement, the White House expressed alarm about the reports and called urgently for a United Nations investigation.


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