September 1, 2013

UN asks for accelerated testing of Syria samples

The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The top U.N. spokesman says the secretary-general has asked the head of the U.N. chemical weapons inspection team to expedite the analysis of tests from samples collected from Syria.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke with the head of the team, Ake Sellstrom, earlier Sunday and asked him to accelerate the process.

Nesirky also says that two Syrian government officials are observing the process as mandated by the guidelines that safeguard the samples' chain of custody.

The team collected samples from sites of an alleged chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21. They will be sent Monday to laboratories around Europe to check them for traces of poison gas.

Nesirky declined to say when the results might be in, saying "We are not giving a timeline."

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