News / Middle East

UN Continues Negotiations on Syria Chemical Weapons Mission

A general view shows Khan al-Assal area near the northern city of Aleppo, near the site where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad say a chemical weapons attack occurred, March 23, 2013.
A general view shows Khan al-Assal area near the northern city of Aleppo, near the site where forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad say a chemical weapons attack occurred, March 23, 2013.
Reuters
U.N. chemical weapons investigators are ready to visit Syria to investigate the use of chemical weapons, but a deal has yet to be reached with the Syrian government after two weeks of talks on safety assurances for the team, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

“Once the government of Syria confirms its acceptance of the modalities, the mission will depart without delay,” the United Nations said in a statement.

It has been nearly two weeks since the United Nations said the Syrian government had agreed to let a team of experts travel to three sites where chemical weapons are reported to have been used. One, Khan al-Assal in Aleppo, is where the Syrian government says rebels used chemical weapons in March.

The other two locations to be visited have not yet been identified. The United Nations said it has received 13 reports of possible chemical weapons use - one report from Syria's government and the rest mainly from Britain, France and the United States.

The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons, and both have denied it.

The U.N. inquiry, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, will only try to establish whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. His team is made up of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the World Health Organization.

“Over the weekend, the investigation team led by Dr Ake Sellstrom completed all necessary logistical arrangements for its visit to Syria,” the United Nations said.

“In the meantime, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane, has continued her consultations with the government of Syria with a view to reaching agreement as soon as possible on the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission,” it said.

Rebels seized Khan al-Assal from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces last month. The Syrian National Coalition, the rebels' leadership group, has written to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying they were ready to cooperate with the chemical weapons inquiry and “welcome U.N. investigators into all territories under our control.”

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs