The United States would like to express its appreciation to Dr. Sellstrom and his brave team, who faced significant risk in carrying out their mission in an active war zone. We commend them for their bravery and professionalism, including in preparing the final report released yesterday. This report authoritatively confirms what we already know – chemical weapons have been used in Syria to kill hundreds of people. Its contents are disturbing. In the August 21 attack in Eastern Ghouta alone, which the U.S. assesses with high confidence was carried out by the regime, over 1,400 people were killed, making it the worst chemical weapons attack the world has seen in more than 25 years. The United States strongly and unequivocally condemns any use of chemical weapons.
For this reason, the United States, working closely with the United Nations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Russia and other partners, has made it our highest priority to ensure that Syria’s deadly chemical weapons program is eliminated. The UN-OPCW Joint Mission in Syria has made rapid progress, despite the dangers faced each day working in conflict areas. We are well on our way to achieving our shared goal of eradicating Syria’s chemical weapons program by the middle of next year. The United States continues to work with partners to prepare for the Geneva II peace conference and a lasting political solution to the conflict.
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