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U.N. vows ‘impartial’ study on Syria chemical arms

Published: Updated:

The United Nations vowed on Saturday to provide an “impartial and credible” assessment on alleged chemical attacks in Syria, as talks over a possible military strike go on.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said conclusions on whether banned poison gas had been used in Syria will not be made until laboratory tests are completed

Nesirky also rejected suggestions that the world body was somehow stepping aside to allow U.S. air strikes on Syria.

“I have seen all kinds of reporting suggesting that the departure of the chemical weapons team somehow opens a window for military action of some kind,” he said in a statement carried by Reuters.

“Frankly, that’s grotesque, and it’s also an affront to the more than 1,000 staff, U.N. staff, who are on the ground in Syria delivering humanitarian aid and who will continue to deliver critical aid,” Nesirky added.

The U.N. inspectors have a mandate to report on whether banned chemical weapons have been used in the 29-month-old war in Syria - particularly during an August 21 attack on an opposition-held area near Damascus - but not to say who carried it out.

Following criticism of the U.N. investigation mission, Nesirky said: “The United Nations mission is uniquely capable of establishing in an impartial and credible manner the facts of any use of chemical weapons.”

U.N. disarmament envoy Angela Kane briefed U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon on the mission in New York on Saturday.

Kane told Ban that the U.N. inspectors were “able to conduct a wide range of fact finding activities,” Nesirky told reporters.

The inspectors have taken the samples to The Hague and they will be moved to two laboratories in Europe, Nesirky said.

(With Reuters and AFP)