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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN to Speed Up Analysis of Syria Chemical Weapons Data

RIA Novosti

02:52 01/09/2013 MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - The United Nations is ready to do everything possible to speed up the process of analyzing data collected by its chemical weapons inspectors in Syria, the UN secretary-general’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, said.

“The Secretary-General looks forward to receiving the mission’s findings as soon as possible so he can promptly present the results to Member States and to the Security Council,” Nesirky said Saturday after UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s talks with High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane.

Western powers are considering armed intervention in the two-year civil war after hundreds of people were killed on August 21 in the Syrian capital Damascus in an apparent nerve gas attack that the Syrian opposition claimed was performed by government forces. The Syrian government quickly denied the allegations and said it had evidence of rebel groups using chemical weapons.

US President Barack Obama on Saturday said that while he is prepared to launch a military strike against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, he will first seek authorization to use military force from the US Congress, which is away on a summer break scheduled to last until Sept. 9.

“The Secretary-General has requested that the laboratory process be expedited as much as feasible,” Nesirky said.

The United Nations Security Council has so far not authorized any military intervention in the Syrian crisis. Moscow, along with Beijing, has previously vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning Assad's government. Russia has urged all parties to the conflict to use diplomatic means to resolve it.

Russia has been Syria's most important ally during the civil war. Moscow has sent to Damascus some weapons that it said were being supplied under previously agreed deals.

The unrest in Syria began in March 2011 and later escalated into a civil war. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to United Nations estimates.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the United States Saturday saying that Washington’s allegations about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians were "unimaginable nonsense.”

The White House released a report Friday blaming Assad’s regime for the attack, which cited “human, signals and geospatial intelligence,” as well as open source materials such as social media reports and videos of the alleged attack. The report explicitly stated that it omitted certain classified evidence, which was only made available to the US Congress.

Putin said Saturday that Russia denounced the use of chemical weapons and was ready for “consolidated participation in drafting measures to oppose such acts.”

Updated with details in graf 4.

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