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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syria Rejects 'Expanded' UN Chemical Weapons Probe - Agency

RIA Novosti

02:43 09/04/2013

MOSCOW / BEIRUT, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - Syrian authorities reject an "additional demand" by the UN to let its investigative mission operate across all Syria's territory, the state-run Syrian news agency SANA reported on Monday in its Russian-language section.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on March 21 that the United Nations will open an independent investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria as soon as possible.

However, later Ban Ki-moon moved to broaden the mandate of the mission in an effort to set as its task the investigation of all other alleged cases of chemical weapons use in Syria.

The agency quoted a foreign ministry official as saying that "Syria expresses its regrets in connection with the recent statement by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who openly yielded to pressure by certain states who support the bloodshed among Syrians."

"Despite the progress reached until April 3… the UN secretary general, while in The Hague, has put forward an additional demand to expand the mandate of the mission so that experts were allowed to operate across the entire Syrian territory. This is against the request that Syria has sent to the UN," SANA quoted the source as saying.

"Syria cannot accept these maneuvers by the UN Secretariat, taking into account the negative role it had played in Iraq," the source said.

Ban said on Monday that the UN team of investigators was now in Cyprus, at "the final staging point to undertake the mission in Syria," and was ready to be deployed in 24 hours.

Syria's authorities accused opposition militants of deploying chemical weapons in an attack near the northern city of Aleppo on March 19 that state media reports claimed at least 25 lives and seriously injured more than 100. The rebels have denied the allegation and in turn accused the Syrian military of launching a Scud missile with a chemical warhead.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that Moscow believes the United Nations is disrupting an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria under pressure from "certain states."

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