Ban to present chemical weapons report
This photo taken on August 28, 2013, in the Eastern Ghouta area on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus, shows United Nations (UN) arms experts arriving to inspect a site suspected of being hit by a deadly chemical weapons attack the previous week. (AFP)
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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will present on Monday the findings of a report on chemical weapons in Syria that could renew pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.
Ban has already revealed that he expects the report by a UN investigation team to give “overwhelming” confirmation that arms were used in an attack near Damascus on August 21 in which hundreds died.
While the UN team is not allowed to say who carried out the attack, diplomats say the detail will give a clearer picture to who is responsible, while Western and Arab states continue to place blame on Assad’s forces.
Ban will present the report to the UN Security Council at 11:15a.m. (1515 GMT), according to Agence France-Presse.
The report’s findings come after a US-Russian deal this week which stipulates Syria’s chemical stockpile be dismantled.
World leaders, including Syria, have welcomed the deal.
On Saturday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed what he called attempts to “retouch” the UN report. Syria’s UN envoy, Bashar Jaafari, has also said his government will not accept a “politicized” report.
“Russia, the Americans, all sides, have been putting on pressure over this report,” a UN official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Ban’s office has agonized over every word. The message has to be how serious this attack was but also support the Russia-US initiative.”
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