UNITED NATIONS -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Åke Sellström, appointed to lead the fact-finding mission into the use of chemical weapons in Syria, appeared together at United Nations headquarters on Monday in New York to tell the Syrians and the world that their investigative team is waiting at the ready to deploy from Cyprus within 48 hours.
"Even while waiting for Syrian consent to enter the country, they have been doing what they have to do and what they can to gather and analyze available information. These activities include possible visits to relevant capitals."Ban told the international press that a truly comprehensive and thorough investigation would require "full access" to the sites, theoretically in a timely manner, as traces of sarin dissipate quickly due to its volatility.
"This is a crucial moment in our efforts to get the team on the ground to carry out its important task," he said. "I take seriously the recent intelligence report of the United States about the use of chemical weapons in Syria. On-site activities are essential if the United Nations is to be able to establish the facts and clear up all the doubts surrounding this issue."