Ban says chemical weapon use would be crime against humanity

The use of chemical weapons in Syria or anywhere else would be a crime against humanity resulting in serious consequences, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday.

Ban made the statement before a meeting in Seoul, South Korea on the Millennium Development Goals. On Thursday, Ban called on Syria's government to fully cooperate with the U.N. investigative team currently in Syria to let it investigate an incident that occurred on August 21.

"Any use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anybody, under any circumstances, would violate international law," Ban said. "Such a crime against humanity should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator. Once again, I call for an immediate investigation of this latest incident."

Since fighting started in Syria in March 2011, as many as 100,000 people were killed, close to two million fled to neighboring countries and an additional four million were internally displaced. Approximately 6.8 million Syrians require urgent humanitarian assistance.

"The time has clearly come for the parties to stop shooting, and start talking," Ban said. "I am determined to do everything I can to assist the victims and move towards a political solution. That is the only way this crisis will be resolved."

Ban said the challenge remaining for the U.N. is to achieve a cessation of hostilities, deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need and get the government and the opposition to the negotiating table in Geneva.