31 August 2013 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today met with the top United Nations disarmament official, just back from Damascus, on the chemical weapons investigation and the latest developments in Syria. The meeting comes as the UN inspection team arrived in the Netherlands earlier today to carry out a rapid analysis of samples gathered.
UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York that Mr. Ban met with UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane for over an hour.
“Ms. Kane briefed the Secretary-General on her trip and on the current status of the investigation,” Mr. Nesirky said, adding that that she thanked the Syrian Government and opposition for their cooperation during this mission. Ms. Kane had been in Damascus, at Mr. Ban's request, meeting with the Syrian Government to facilitate access for the team of inspectors, who arrived on 18 August.
“Ms. Kane reported that the mission was able to conduct a wide range of fact-finding activities pertaining to the 21 August incident in the Ghouta area,” he added.
The inspection team, led by Swedish scientist Dr. Åke Sellström, is now in The Hague, the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is assisting the probe, along with the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
The team will spend the day collating the samples and other evidence prior to sending them for testing in laboratories in Europe.
As soon as the team receives the results of the laboratory analysis of its samples, the conclusions will be transmitted to Mr. Ban who “looks forward to receiving the findings as soon as possible” so they can be promptly presented to the 193 Member States and to the Security Council, Mr. Nesirky said.
Mr. Ban spoke briefly to Mr. Sellström earlier today by telephone to thank him for his work, the spokesperson said. Mr. Ban will be briefed in more detail by him tomorrow.
Mr. Nesirky also noted that Mr. Ban is in touch with Ambassador María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency for August, and with Ambassador Gary Quinlan of Australia, which will take the presidency in September.
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