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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Notes to correspondents

Note to correspondents on Syria

New York, 23 March 2013

The Spokesperson has the following update on Syria:

The Secretary-General sent a letter to the President of Security Council on Friday evening informing him of his decision to conduct an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria and asking for the letter to be shared with Members of the Security Council.

In his letter, the Secretary-General noted that he had received and responded to a letter from the Syrian Government and one from the French and UK Governments. He also noted that other Member States had also written to him or made public statements calling for the investigation mission to look into all allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The Secretary-General said in his letter that he had requested the Syrian, French and UK Governments to provide additional information about the incidents they have reported to him. He said that the provision of this information would be crucial in defining the terms of reference for the mission and the scope of its work with a view to verifying any alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The Secretary-General has also written to the Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Director-General of the World Health Organization to inform them formally of his decision and to thank them for their support. Their organizations' expertise and support will be crucial in discharging the work of the investigation mission, which is technical and governed by the Secretary-General's Mechanism for the investigation of alleged use of chemical, biological and toxin weapons.

The initial focus of the investigation will be an incident involving the alleged use of chemical weapons in Kfar Dael region in Khan Al-Asal area in Aleppo governorate.