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Ban to present key Syria chemical report

Last modified: 15 Sep 2013 17:09

Meanwhile, AFP reports that UN leaders have "agonised" over a report that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will present Monday on chemical weapons in Syria that could renew pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, officials said.

Ban has already revealed that he expects the report by a UN investigation team to the UN Security Council to give "overwhelming" confirmation that arms were used in an attack near Damascus on August 21 in which hundreds died.

But the UN team is not allowed to say who carried out the attack, which the West blames on Assad. While diplomats say the detail will give a clear pointer to who is responsible, opponents and supporters of Assad - who pleads innocence - will be looking for evidence to back their case.

A Russia-US accord on the dismantling of Syria's chemical stockpile will also weigh heavily on Security Council consultations expected to be called Monday.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday slammed what he called attempts to "retouch" the UN report. Syria's UN envoy, Bashar Jaafari, has also said his government will not accept a "politicised" report.

"Russia, the Americans, all sides, have been putting on pressure over this report," a UN official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Ban's office has agonized over every word. The message has to be how serious this attack was but also support the Russia-US initiative."

Diplomats from various countries also confirmed approaches to Ban about the report.