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Syria accepts terms of cooperation for chemical weapons inspectors

NEW YORK – The Syrian Government has formally accepted the modalities essential for cooperation to ensure the proper, safe and efficient conduct of the mission by the United Nations team investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in the ongoing conflict, the world body announced today.

“The departure of the team is now imminent,” said a statement issued by the spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “As agreed with the Government of Syria, the team will remain in the country to conduct its activities, including on-site visits, for a period of up to 14 days, extendable upon mutual consent.”

The fact-finding mission was launched by Mr. Ban earlier this year following a formal request from the Syrian Government. The team, led by Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, completed the logistical arrangements for their mission last weekend.

“The Secretary-General wishes to express his appreciation to the Government of Syria for its cooperation,” said his spokesperson. “Our goal remains a fully independent and impartial inquiry.”

He added that Mr. Ban believes that an effective mechanism to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons can serve as an important deterrent against their employment.

“The overwhelming support of the international community for this investigation makes clear that the use of chemical weapons by any side under any circumstances would constitute an outrageous crime.”

A date for the mission has not yet been announced.

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