Press Briefing on Syria: Sellström readout, Humanitarian, France (1 September 2013)
The Secretary-General held a telephone call today with Dr. Åke Sellström, Head of the United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic.
Dr. Sellström, who has just returned to The Hague with the rest of his expert team, after work in Syria from 19 to 31 August, briefed the Secretary-General on the next stages of the investigation process.
All preparations for classifying the samples are progressing well. Samples will begin to be transferred to laboratories tomorrow.
Dr. Sellström told the Secretary-General that two Syrian officials were observing the process.
The whole process will be done strictly adhering to the highest established standards of verification recognised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
In light of the horrendous magnitude of the 21 August incident in the Ghouta area of Damascus, the Secretary-General asked Dr. Sellström to expedite the Mission’s analysis of the samples and information it had obtained without jeopardizing the scientific timelines required for accurate analysis, and to report the results to him as soon as possible.
They discussed ways to further accelerate the process.
The Secretary-General personally thanked Prof. Sellström for his undertaking and for the performance of the team while in Syria in spite of the difficult and dangerous circumstances.