News / Middle East

UN Team to Brief Ban Ki-Moon on Syria

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seen speaking at U.N. Headquarters in New York in this July 18, 2013, file photo.United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seen speaking at U.N. Headquarters in New York in this July 18, 2013, file photo.
x
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seen speaking at U.N. Headquarters in New York in this July 18, 2013, file photo.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is seen speaking at U.N. Headquarters in New York in this July 18, 2013, file photo.
Margaret Besheer
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will receive a briefing from his chemical weapons team on its mission to Syria. The inspectors are due to leave the country Saturday. 

The U.N. chief cut short an official trip to Austria to return to headquarters, as the possibility of a military reprisal against President Bashar al-Assad’s government continued to loom after a suspected poison gas attack near Damascus last week killed hundreds of people.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters that the team of U.N. scientific experts investigating the August 21 attack near Damascus will leave Syria by Saturday morning.  He said some of them will remain in Europe to oversee the delivery and analysis of samples to laboratories in order to ensure the chain of custody.

Haq said U.N. disarmament chief Angela Kane and some of the inspectors will be in New York in the coming days to brief the secretary-general.

“They will have a large number of facts at their disposal, they’ve collected a considerable amount of evidence - evidence through samples, evidence through witness interviews - they can construct from that a fact-based narrative that can get at the key facts of what happened on the 21st of August,” said Haq.

He added the team will present a final report once laboratory results had been received.

“It is imperative that the work that the investigation team does be seen by all as fair, impartial and accurate. And so they will do their very best for accuracy while trying to get all the results in as soon as they possibly can do,” stressed Haq.

World powers met again Thursday at the U.N. Security Council. Russia called the meeting of the other permanent Council members - Britain, China, France and the United States.  Talks lasted about 45 minutes.  Diplomats refused to brief reporters on what transpired, but it appeared there were no breakthroughs.

On Wednesday, the group had met to discuss a resolution, proposed by Britain, that would authorize “all necessary measures” to protect Syrian civilians.

Meanwhile, what appeared to be an imminent U.S. and British-led military response came to a sudden halt. Lawmakers in both countries have demanded detailed briefings and evidence to support their governments’ belief that President Assad conducted the August 21 poison gas attack.

In Washington, President Barack Obama’s top national security advisers briefed members of Congress. In London, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would act accordingly, when British lawmakers voted late Thursday against that government's military involvement in Syria.

A State Department spokesperson said the president will continue contemplating what to do in close consultation with U.S. allies.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ron from: Amsterdam
August 31, 2013 2:18 AM
Mister Ban Ki-Moon: it will take 2 weeks to investigate of what has happened in Syria? Unacceptable and bankrupt UN.

by: alan from: united states
August 29, 2013 9:07 PM
let it be

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs