Sellstrom invited to Damascus by Syria

Ake Sellstrom, the leader of the U.N. team investigating chemical weapon use in Syria, was invited to Damascus by the Syrian government, a U.S. representative to the U.N. said on Tuesday.

Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, the acting U.S. permanent representative to the U.N., made the statement on Tuesday during the Security Council stakeout on U.N. Resolution 1701. DiCarlo responded to a question about Syria's recent invitation to Sellstrom to visit Damascus. DiCarlo said the invitation is limited in nature.

"Our understanding from what we have heard the Syrian government say publicly-what we heard Ambassador (Bashar) Ja'afari say yesterday-is that Mr. Sellstrom is invited in, but he is not invited in to look at any and all allegations, in particular the allegations that have been conveyed to him by the U.S., the U.K., and France," DiCarlo said.

DiCarlo said the U.S. conducted a very throughout assessment related to potential chemical weapons use in Syria, and the U.S. determined that to a very high degree of confidence that Bashar al-Assad's regime used chemical weapons on a small scale on multiple occasions. DiCarlo said that the Syrian regime should allow the U.N. team to conduct a thorough on-site investigation.

"We continue to obviously support the U.N. investigative team," DiCarlo said. "We support their investigating any and all credible allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. We think it really could behoove the regime to allow such an investigation to take place but allow an investigation to take place, as I said, based on the conditions that have been set by the United Nations, which is to investigate any and all credible allegations."