Samples from alleged chemical weapons used in Syria transferred to laboratories

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Samples collected to verify the alleged use of chemical weapons in the ongoing conflict in Syria are being transferred to laboratories for analysis, according to the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

Martin Nesirky says that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday spoke by telephone with Dr. Åke Sellström, head of the United Nations mission investigating the allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria.

Dr. Sellström, who returned to The Hague, in the Netherlands over the weekend after he and his team worked for two weeks in Syria, briefed the Secretary-General on the next stages of their investigation.

UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky says Dr. Sellström told the Secretary-General that two Syrian officials were observing the process.

"The whole process will be done strictly adhering to the highest established standards of verification recognised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In light of the horrendous magnitude of the 21 August incident in the Ghouta area of Damascus, the Secretary-General asked Dr. Sellström to expedite the Mission's analysis of the samples and information it had obtained without jeopardizing the scientific timelines required for accurate analysis, and to report the results to him as soon as possible." (31")

Spokesperson Nesirky says the Secretary-General and Prof. Sellström discussed ways to further accelerate the process.

The UN chief "personally thanked Prof. Sellström for his undertaking and for the performance of the team while in Syria in spite of the difficult and dangerous circumstances."

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1'44"

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