UN officials accept Syrias invitation for talks on chemical weapons probe

The announcement came after a meeting at UN Headquarters on Wednesday between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Åke Sellström, the head of the UN fact-finding mission set up in March to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.A read-out of the meeting stated that Mr. Sellström and Angela Kane, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, have agreed to accept the Syrian Government’s invitation to visit Damascus with a view to completing the consultations on the modalities of cooperation required for the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the investigation.The Secretary-General had repeatedly called on Damascus to grant the team access to the country so that it can carry out an on-the-ground investigation into the allegations. Mr. Sellström provided Mr. Ban with an oral update on the mission’s off-site activities, which included the analysis of information received from Member States and fact-finding activities in a neighbouring country.Since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian Government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad as many as 100,000 people have been killed, almost 2 million have fled to neighbouring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced.

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