New York

25 April 2013

Note to Correspondents in response to questions about alleged chemical weapons use in Syria

In response to questions about alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General has the following to say:

The Secretary-General has taken note of the letter from the White House to Congress regarding chemical weapons in Syria. He takes seriously the assessment presented in that letter. However, the United Nations is not in a position to comment on assessments based on national intelligence information.

Senior advisers at UN Headquarters have been in contact with the US authorities on the latest developments.

The Secretary-General has already put together a technical expert team to conduct a fact-finding mission to look into all serious allegations of the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria. He has requested supporting information from the relevant Member States. Dr. Åke Sellström, the head of the UN Investigation Mission, has been in touch with relevant authorities.

The fact-finding team is on stand-by and ready to deploy in 24-48 hours.

The Secretary-General has consistently urged the Syrian authorities to provide full and unfettered access to the team. He renews this urgent call today.