World

Ban to review Syria chemical arms accord

July 28, 2013
Latest Update: July 28, 2013 04:23 pm

UN leader Ban Ki-moon will review an accord struck with Syria on investigating the use of chemical weapons before any details are announced, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Ban will meet in New York tomorrow with one of the two envoys who struck the accord, United Nations spokeswoman Morana Song told AFP.

The UN and the Syrian government said in a joint statement late Friday that agreement had been reached "on the way forward" in the probe, following a visit to Damascus by Ake Sellstrom, head of the UN inspectors, and Angela Kane, the UN disarmament envoy.

The statement did not say whether UN inspectors would be allowed into Syria as Ban has demanded.

Kane is to report on the visit to the secretary general on Monday, Song said.

"We will have no further comment until the secretary general has had an opportunity to get briefed on the visit and review the situation," she added.

Kane and Sellstrom were in Damascus on Wednesday and Thursday. They met with Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem and Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, the joint statement said.

"The discussions were thorough and productive and led to an agreement on the way forward," it added, without giving further details.

The UN says it has been given reports of 13 chemical weapons attacks during the 28-month-old conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives.

The United States and other countries say they believe sarin and other banned chemicals have been use in "limited" quantities.

Ban has demanded widespread access to investigate all allegations. Syria, however, has insisted the UN only probe its claim that opposition rebels used chemical weapons in the town of Khan al-Assal on March 19.

Britain, France and The United States say all the attacks were carried out by President Bashar Al-Assad's forces.

But Russia, Assad's main ally, says its inquiry found opposition rebels used sarin gas in Khan Al-Assal. - AFP, July 28, 2013.

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