Syria, U.N. Negotiate Terms for Chemical Strike Inquiry

Global Security Newswire Staff

Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and international officials on Friday said they had negotiated terms "on the way forward" in a stalled probe of chemical strike allegations from the country's civil war, Agence France-Presse reported.

A statement by the sides does not specify if the deal would open Syria to chemical arms inspectors led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was set to evaluate the agreement and to receive a Monday briefing from Angela Kane, U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs. A U.N. spokeswoman said more details could become available following Ban's meeting with Kane.

While visiting Damascus last Wednesday and Thursday, Kane and Sellstrom met with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem and Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Faisal Mekdad, the release says.

Meanwhile, a U.S. House intelligence committee lawmaker said pending U.S. military assistance to Syrian opposition forces would neither eliminate chemical arms threats from Assad's regime nor "tilt the battlefield" to benefit the resistance, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

"I don't know that anyone is particularly enthusiastic with the approach that they are recommending. But they certainly feel it's the best they could come up with, and best they could reach their own consensus over,"  Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said.