Germany urges access for U.N. to check Syria chemical attack reports

BERLIN Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:49am EDT

Survivors from what activists say is a gas attack take shelter inside a mosque in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abdullah

Survivors from what activists say is a gas attack take shelter inside a mosque in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mohamed Abdullah

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle demanded on Thursday that Syria grant full access to United Nations chemicals weapons experts to investigate allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack on civilians.

"We are very worried about the reports that poison gas has been used near Damascus. These reports are very serious and if they are confirmed would be outrageous," Westerwelle told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart

"We call for this clarification to be made possible promptly and for the United Nations chemical weapons experts who are now in the country be given access immediately to check these accusations," he said.

The U.N. Security Council says it is necessary to clarify the reports of a chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus but has stopped short of explicitly demanding a probe by U.N. investigators in Syria.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Stephen Brown)

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