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Middle East

Britain urges quick Syria chlorine probe

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, speaks with Yemen Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi during the Friends of Yemen meeting in central London, Tuesday April 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Carl Court, Pool)

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday pressed the world's chemical weapons watchdog to finish its probe into the alleged use of chlorine gas in Syria as urgently as possible.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced Tuesday it is sending a fact-finding mission to Syria after claims that President Bashar al-Assad's forces may have unleashed industrial chemicals on civilians.

"The UK pushed hard to secure an investigation and we call on the OPCW to carry out its mandate with urgency," Hague said in a statement.

"Time is of the essence in establishing the full facts. The mission must be given full access to all sites and be allowed to carry out its investigation without any interference or delay."

Britain said it would give the OPCW any assistance it needed to investigate the "sickening" allegations.

The OPCW and the United Nations are already destroying Syria's chemical weapons as part of a Russian-US disarmament deal agreed last August in the wake of deadly sarin nerve agent attacks outside Damascus.

France and the United States first highlighted the allegations earlier this month that Assad's regime was using the chemical chlorine against civilians despite the deal.

 

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