Speaker: Hans Blix Presider: Mitchel B. Wallerstein
Hans Blix, former executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), joins Mitchel B. Wallerstein, president of Baruch College, to discuss Blix's experiences.
The United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic submitted an investigative report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday, September 15, 2013. The "Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013" concludes that "chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children." On December 12, 2013, the final report on the investigation was released (resolution 2118). It includes a timeline of events in Syria and actions of the UN and evidence that led to the conclusion that chemical weapons were used.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov developed a joint strategy to remove Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by "the first half of 2014." The agreement was reached on September 14, 2013, during the third day of their meeting in Geneva.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva on September 12, 2013, to discuss the possibility of Syria handing over its chemical weapons to the international community. This approach was proposed as an alternative to a military strike as a response to the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.
Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from long-standing international practice.
President Obama spoke to the American public on September 10, 2013, about the U.S. government's response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. He requested Congress to delay its vote on the proposed military strike, in order to address Russia's proposal of Syria handing over chemical weapons to the international community.
On the margins of the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg, September 5-6, 2013, leaders from Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America released a joint statement condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry gave this statement on August 30, 2013, to review with the American people the Obama administration's assessment about the August 21 chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilizans and the steps taken to develop a plan with U.S. and international officials to intervene.
The search for evidence of chemical weapons in Syria is painstaking and hampered by harsh conditions, but could yield decisive findings as debate over military action intensifies, says expert Amy E. Smithson.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon released two statements on August 21, 2013, after reports of chemical weapons being used in Syria. Ambassador Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina, UN Security Council President for August, spoke at the same press conference.
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