UN chief wants time for Syria investigation

Inspectors investigating alleged chemical weapons attack continue examinations, but will leave country on Saturday.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the UN inspectors investigating an alleged chemical weapons attack will be leaving Syria on Saturday, and has asked for time for them to be able to complete their investigation.

    Speaking in Vienna on Thursday, Ban said the inspectors would complete their investigations by Friday, and leave the country a day later, at which point they would make a report to him.

    Some of the inspectors will personally take samples to laboratories around Europe after leaving Damascus. UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the team's final report will depend on lab results, and that it could take "more than days."

    Responding to heightening tensions around the possibility of a foreign military intervention in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons, Ban said that all opinions should be heard before anyone made decisions on how to react.

    Ban's comments came as the team reached Douma, outside Damascus, to examine sites where activists say rockets loaded with chemical weapons struck on August 21.

    Aid agencies say at least 355 people were killed and as many as 3,000 injured after the attacks.

    The UN inspectors were due to run tests on samples taken from the site and to conduct interviews with the wounded during their visit to Douma.

    Ban said that he had spoken with US President Barack Obama, who on Wednesday said that the US government had "concluded" that chemical weapons had been used, and that it was the Syrian government who deployed them, regarding how to "expedite the process of investigation".

    "I have also expressed [my] sincere wish that this investigation team should be allowed to continue their work as mandated by the member states," Ban told reporters.

    "I told [Obama] that we will [...] share information and our analysis of samples and evidence with members of the Security Council and United Nations members in general," he said.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.