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UN chief to meet with Security Council permanent members over Syria

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 31 — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will meet with permanent members of the Security Council Friday noon over Syria, UN spokesperson office said Friday.

Ban returned to New York on Thursday evening after cutting short a Europe visit. "He intends to engage with member states on developments in Syria, starting today at noon with a meeting with the permanent members of the Security Council," the spokesperson office said in a statement.

The UN chemical weapons investigators team is expected to wrap up its 14-day stay in Syria on Saturday morning.

There had been increasing rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic the last few days, raising fears that attacks on Syria were imminent. However, Britain's House of Commons on Thursday voted to reject the British government's motion on military action against Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that the United States is presently seeking an international coalition, especially the one among its allies, in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syria government.

The Syrian government forces are accused of being behind a chemical attack on a Damascus suburb on Aug. 21 that reportedly killed hundreds of people.

The UN team, led by Swedish specialist Ake Sellstrom, initially went to Syria to investigate the March 19 alleged chemical weapons attack on Khan al-Asal in the Aleppo region and two other sites of alleged chemical attacks. But shortly after the team's arrival, the Aug. 21 attack occurred.

Angela Kane, the UN disarmament chief who was dispatched to Syria to request Damascus allow the Damascus attack be prioritized by the team, also is returning to UN headquarters Saturday. (PNA/Xinhua)

CTB/RSM

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