United Nations headquarters in New York
UNITED NATIONS (AP) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he
believes there will be "an overwhelming report" from U.N. inspectors
that chemical weapons were used in an attack in Syria on Aug. 21.
U.N. chief made the comment shortly before the chief chemical weapons
inspector, Ake Sellstrom, told The Associated Press that he has
completed his report and will deliver it to Ban in New York this
Ban also said that President Bashar Assad's regime "has committed many crimes against humanity."
"Therefore, I'm sure that there will be surely the process of accountability when everything is over," Ban said.
secretary-general thought his speech to the Women's International Forum
and response to questions were not being broadcast, but they were shown
on U.N. television.
Asked whether Ban's conclusion was in
response to the report, U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said that as
far as he knows the report hadn't been completed "so it's not possible
for any of us to have seen the report at this present moment."
But he added that Ban "has been in touch with different people including the experts."
the mandate for the inspectors, Sellstrom's team was to determine
whether or not chemical agents were used and if so which agent not who
But two diplomats said the report could point to
the perpetrators, explaining that the inspectors collected many samples
from the attack, which the Obama administration says killed 1,400
people, and also interviewed doctors and witnesses.
had soil, blood and urine samples and may also have collected remnants
of the rockets or other weapons used in the attack which could point to
those responsible, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of
anonymity because discussions on the issue have been confidential.
by telephone from the Netherlands, Sellstrom said he didn't know
exactly when the report would be released publicly. He confirmed that
"it's done, but when to present it is up to the secretary-general."
said after the report goes to the secretary-general "he'll present it
to member states, and we hope that we'll be able to provide it to you
(the media) in short order."
In his speech, Ban said "the
disaster" in Syria has created "a lost generation of children and young
people" and led to "rising sectarian tensions, regional instability, the
largest displacements of people in a generation, grave violations of
human rights, including sexual violence."
"The latest fighting has
also raised the specter of chemical warfare which, if confirmed by
the U.N. investigation mission, would be an atrocious violation of
international law," Ban said.