UNTV _ AP Television Clients Only
New York, September 16, 2013
1. SOUNDBITE (English) U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
"The report of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria has concluded that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in the Ghouta area of Damascus on August 21st, causing numerous casualties, particularly among civilians. "The results are overwhelming and indisputable. Eighty-five per cent of the blood samples tested positive for sarin. A majority of the environmental samples confirmed the use of sarin. A majority of the rockets or rocket fragments recovered were found to be carrying sarin. The findings are beyond doubt and beyond the pale. This is a war crime and a grave violation of the 1925 Protocol and other rules of customary international law. It is the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988 - and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century. There must be accountability for the use of chemical weapons. Any use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, is a crime. But our message today must be more than: Do not slaughter your people with gas."
United Nations inspectors said Monday there is "clear and convincing evidence" that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people.
The findings represent the first official confirmation by scientific experts that chemical weapons were used in Syria's civil war, but the report left the key question of who launched the attack unanswered.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented the U.N. inspectors' report to a closed meeting of the U.N. Security Council before its release.
"This is a war crime and a grave violation of ... international law," Ban told the council in remarks distributed to the press. "The results are overwhelming and indisputable. The facts speak for themselves."
The inspectors' report said "the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used ... in the Ghouta area of Damascus" on Aug. 21.
"The conclusion is that chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale," the inspectors said in their report to Ban.
"This result leaves us with the deepest concern," the inspectors said.
The inspectors were mandated to report on whether chemical weapons were used and if so which ones _ not on who was responsible.