UN chief: Syria bars entry of chem. weapons team
BY PETER JAMES SPIELMANN | The Associated Press April 17, 2013 1:32PM
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday that Syria has still not allowed a team of experts into the country despite the country’s calling on the international body to investigate alleged chemical weapons use by rebels.
Syria has asked the U.N. to investigate a chemical weapons attack in March on the village of Khan al-Assal outside of Aleppo, which the regime blames on rebels and rebels blame on regime forces.
Ban is urging the Syrian government to accept an expanded U.N. probe into alleged chemical weapons use, saying he has concluded that a claimed attack in Homs in December warrants investigation.
Syria’s government wants the investigation limited to the single Khan al-Assal incident and last week rejected the expanded investigation.
Britain and France want the U.N. to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in Khan al-Assal and another village, Ataybah, on March 19, as well as the central city of Homs on Dec. 23.
The inspection team is in Cyprus awaiting permission to enter Syria.
“The team of experts is ready to deploy as quickly as we have the Syrian government’s consent,” Ban said. “The mission is to be able to investigate all the allegations made by the member-states. I have been urging the Syrian government to show flexibility,” he said.