New York

22 August 2013

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria

The Secretary-General remains deeply troubled by the reports of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. The Secretary-General believes that the incidents reported yesterday need to be investigated without delay. Since yesterday he has been in touch with world leaders on the matter. He has instructed Under-Secretary-General Angela Kane to travel to Damascus.  Furthermore, senior UN officials have been in contact with the Syrian authorities since the first reports were received.

The Secretary-General takes positive note of yesterday’s meeting of the Security Council as well as the conclusions by the President of the Security Council supporting his intention to conduct a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation. 

The Secretary-General now calls for the Mission, presently in Damascus, to be granted permission and access to swiftly investigate the incident which occurred on the morning of 21 August 2013. A formal request is being sent by the United Nations to the Government of Syria in this regard. He expects to receive a positive response without delay.

The Secretary-General reiterates his call for a cessation of hostilities so that humanitarian assistance can be urgently delivered.