U.N., Syria agree chemical weapons talks were thorough and productive

U.N. representatives and the government of Syria had thorough and productive discussions regarding the alleged use of chemical weapons and developed an agreement to go forward, the U.N. said on Saturday.

Åke Sellström, the head of the U.N. fact-finding mission set up in March to look into the alleged use of chemical weapons, joined U.N. High Representatives for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane in Damascus for a meeting with the Syrian government on July 24 and July 25. Kane and Sellström met with multiple Syrian government officials including Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal Mekdad to discuss the mission's work.

"Discussions were thorough and productive and led to an agreement on the way forward," the U.N. and Syria said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeatedly called on Syria to allow the fact-finding team access to the country so that it can carry out an investigation on the ground into the allegations of chemical weapons use.

Since March 2011, as many as 100,000 people were killed in the conflict between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Syrian opposition groups. Approximately two million people fled to neighboring countries and an additional four million were internally displaced.