UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked for weapons inspectors to be given time to determine whether chemical weapons were used in an attack last week in Damascus.
Speaking at the Hague, Ban urged members of the UN Security Council to look for a diplomatic solution, saying: “It is essential to establish the facts. A UN investigation team is now on the ground to do just that. Just days after the attack, they have collected valuable samples and interviewed victims and witnesses. The team needs time to do its job, Give peace a chance, give diplomacy a chance, stop fighting and start talking.”
“They are working very hard, under very, very dangerous circumstances,” Ban told a news conference.
“Let them conclude their work for four days, and then we will have to analyse scientifically with experts and then I think we will have to report to the Security Council for any actions.”
Meanwhile in Damascus, the inspectors have returned to the site of the suspected chemical weapons strike in the Mouadamiya suburb.
The team’s operation had been suspended after their convoy was shot at by unidentified snipers.
Hundreds of people are reported to have died in the attack on 21 August.
Opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad say his forces used rockets loaded with poison gas. Assad denies the charges.