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U.N. to Russia: Syria chemical report 'stands for itself’

September 18th, 2013
03:06 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The United Nations official in charge of weapons inspectors said that the report alleging chemical weapons use in Syria “stands for itself,” shooting back Russian allegations that the report was “biased” and “distorted.”

“It is a very sound, scientific report,” Angela Kane, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday in her first television interview since the report was released. “It has forty pages. It is buttressed by scientific evaluation, by diagnosis and by assessments, and so therefore I have no heard any criticisms of the findings themselves. The findings show that there is use of chemical weapons – what the inspectors found on the ground.”

The allegations of bias came from Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, who met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday.

The two met as members the U.N. Security Council, including Russia and the United States, continue to debate a resolution that would compel Syria to give up its chemical weapons.

The U.N. report, which was released on Monday, said there was “clear and convincing evidence” that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were fired against several Damascus neighborhoods on August 21.

The report did not specifically apportion blame for the attack, but analysts said the evidence presented supported the claim that the Assad regime was responsible.

“The mandate of the secretary general’s mechanism is not to draw conclusions, but to put the scientific facts in front of the world community,” Kane told Amanpour. “When you look at the report, people draw their own conclusions.”

Furthermore, Kane said, the report released earlier this week was only a partial one, covering only the August 21 attack; a more comprehensive report is forthcoming. CNN learned Wednesday that weapons inspectors will soon return to Syria to continue their work.

The weapons inspectors team “actually was in the country at the time of twenty one August,” Kane said, “so they were already investigating these additional allegations that have been brought forward, including by the Syrian government themselves. They were the first ones to raise the flag and say we would like you to investigate an allegation of chemical weapons use on the nineteenth of March.”

Kane made clear that she did not have a shred of doubt about the report’s authenticity.

“This is the very first time that we have had an investigation of chemical weapon use within such a short time, and with such a comprehensive manner,” she told Amanpour. “The mechanism has been used only twice before with inconclusive results, with very short reports. And so this is unprecedented in terms of the completeness, in terms of the access to the area, in terms of the access to the victims, in terms of the biomedical and also the environmental samples.”

WEB EXTRA: Kane talks about the difficulty of gathering evidence in a warzone.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. denis

    If its possible let assad be giving another chance to test if really is from his government n this time let rossia co monitor it. I will not like what that happen in libia repeat its self as there r many conspiracy in issues like this and pls let obama hold on still.

    September 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  2. felix ogugbuaja

    Taking sides sometimes make people blind, I believe that Russia already knows the truth about who used sarin gas in Syria. since no one have even come close to implicating the rebels, I think it is dumb to insist the rebels did it. This report says that people should draw their own conclusions, Russia is opposed to that too.

    September 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  3. Scott

    Stands for it self? like this story??? staged photos of sarin gas victims?

    rt. com/op-edge/syria-chemical-attack-children-staged-030/

    September 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Reply
  4. ashok

    Standing by a friend is what the world expects, but not to this extent.

    September 19, 2013 at 3:27 am | Reply
  5. ronan

    Russians is hiding assad faults that's simple as it is! they want u.n inspector to be back to twist the story that assad is clean and want to show them that he is innocent in any means. u know? i'm disgusted with the u.s, hope became hopeless! they don't want to interfere because they were into war so many times?–is it an advantage for them because they know how it works? right? Is u.s afraid of russia? i don't think so! For me–PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD IS FOOLED WITH RUSSIA AND ASSAD! THIS IS A DELAYING TACTICS TO SAVE INNOCENT PEOPLE! if u.s have no heart to
    cleanse Syria's fate! SO MY PRAYERS WILL BE TO THE FIGHTERS WHO WANT JUSTICE! be it on the warriors of the otherside! GOD BE WITH THEM! , FROM NOW ON–LETS LABEL U.S A BIG LIAR!

    September 19, 2013 at 6:07 am | Reply
    • Wole A

      I think it is wrong for the US to be carrying the weight of the whole world. Others that have been criticizing US should also also go and bail Syria out. China is there. Other Arab nations are also there. If anything goes out of plan when US intervenes, everybody will be raining blames on them.

      September 19, 2013 at 6:44 am | Reply
  6. olga

    A lot of well thought out comments on here, I enjoyed reading them, not stupid comments like on many other commentary sites. Everyone here basically did a good job adding to the article, adding their thought provoking comments. I am glad to see that a lot of people here can see through Russia's Putin and Assad too. Great job you all!

    September 21, 2013 at 12:03 am | Reply
  7. georgeobando5

    There is not a clear confirmation that Assad used chemical weapons on his own people. what the article implies is the use of chemical weapons in Syria but is not specific in who did it. Yet, If Assad did not use them, then, the opposition stole those chemical weapons from the Government. That is even worse. Even though many people were killed, hopefully it will be the end of anybody ever using chemical weapons. And Russia and the USA will tie the knots to end the bloodshed in Syria; and stop, Iran and North Korea from having Nuclear Weapons.

    September 22, 2013 at 10:06 am | Reply
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