UN receives report on Syria chemical weapons

United Nations/Tehran, Sep 16 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday received a UN fact-finding group's report on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani termed the ongoing crisis "part of the West's wider conspiracy plan in the Middle East".

Ban would brief the UN Security Council on the findings later Monday, Xinhua reported citing UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky.

"The report by the UN mission investigating allegations of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic has been turned over to the secretary general," Nesirky said in a statement.

"It was transmitted today, Sep 15, to the secretary general by Professor Ake Sellstrom, the head of the mission, and the secretary general would provide it to the member states tomorrow (Monday) morning," the spokesperson said.

"The secretary-general would brief the UNSC on the report during its closed consultations," he added.

In Iran, President Rouhani Monday said the ongoing crisis in Syria is merely part of a wider conspiracy plan the West is pursuing in the Middle East.

"We are well aware that the disputes were not over one person or one president or the coming to power of a particular faction in Syria. It goes beyond that and it is obvious that the West has plans for the whole region," Iran's Mehr news agency quoted Rouhani as saying.

"What has happened in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain are rings of a single chain of events which aim to impact the region and weaken the (anti-Israeli) resistance front," the Iranian president added.

In another development, France President Francois Hollande said in Paris that the two French journalists kidnapped in Syria three months ago were alive.

"We are doing everything to get them released, but making contacts for their release is a very long process," Xinhua quoted the president as telling private channel TF1.

Journalist Didier Francois and freelance photographer Edouard Elias working for local broadcaster Europe1 were kidnapped in June when they were en route to Aleppo in Syria.

In New Delhi, India's External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin Monday welcomed the agreement reached between the US and Russia on securing Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles and hoped the developments would lead to early convening of the UN-backed Geneva II talks for a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis.

He also welcomed Syria's formal accession to the international treaty on banning chemical weapons.

He said India has consistently called upon all sides to abjure violence "so that conditions can be created for an inclusive political dialogue leading to a comprehensive political solution, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people".

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