U.N. accepts Syrian invitation for chemical weapon talks

The U.N. disarmament chief and the leader of the investigation team looking into alleged chemical weapon use in Syria accepted the government's invitation to visit Damascus, the U.N. announced on Thursday.

The announcement of impending talks in Syria came after a meeting on Wednesday at the U.N. headquarters between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Åke Sellström, the leader of the U.N. fact-finding mission to investigate the allegations of chemical weapon use during the Syrian conflict. Sellström and Angela Kane, the U.N. high representative for disarmament affairs, agreed to accept the Syrian government's invitation.

Sellström and Kane will visit Damascus and discuss the completion of consultations on how to ensure an investigation into chemical weapons use will be proper, safe and efficient.

Ban previously called on Damascus on several occasions to allow the team access to Syria so it can conduct an on-the-ground investigation into the allegations.

During the Wednesday meeting, Sellström provided Ban with an update on the mission's off-site activities, which included fact-finding activities in a neighboring country and and the analysis of information from member states.

Since March 2011, as many as 100,000 people were killed in a conflict between the Syrian government and opposition groups.