‘New Syria chemical weapons inspection possible’

‘New Syria chemical weapons inspection possible’
Sat Sep 28, 2013 15:02:50

The chief UN chemical weapons inspector in Syria has raised the possibility of a new inspection mission in the Arab country, noting that his inspection team may not be able to visit all sites of the alleged chemical weapons use during its current mission.

Head of the UN chemical weapons inspection team, Ake Sellstrom, said the current visit, which ends Monday, could not be extended but the possibility of a new inspection “will be considered,” RIA Novosti reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the UN has announced that the team will inspect seven potential sites of alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

However, given the time limitation, the team will have to decide which sites to visit and which ones it could not visit, Sellstrom said, without elaborating.

The team arrived in Syria on August 18 and inspected some locations near Damascus for the possible use of chemical weapons. It left the country on August 30 and subsequently confirmed the use of the sarin nerve agent in Ghouta, a Damascus suburb. It returned to Syria for a second visit on September 25.

A separate team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will begin inspecting Syria's chemical arsenal on October 1 to verify its destruction plan.

This is while the UN Security Council voted unanimously late Friday to pass a resolution requiring Syria to eliminate its chemical weapon stockpiles.

Under the document, the council "decides, in the event of noncompliance with this resolution, including unauthorized transfer of chemical weapons, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic, to impose measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter."

The development came while the United States continued to insist that the threat of military force is crucial to ensuring that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad abides by the terms of the US-Russia plan to secure and destroy its chemical weapons arsenal.

However, the resolution does not authorize the automatic use of force in case Syria is found to be in violation, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasized earlier on Saturday that it absolutely rules out the use of force or any application of Chapter VII.

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