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UN Says Video of Syria Rebels' Chemical Weapons Use Was Too Short, Tells ICP "We Never Managed"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, June 3 -- Of footage of chemical weapons use by Syrian rebels which the UN ten days ago said was being "converted into a usable format, and it is being sent to the Head of the Team, Ake Sellstrom," the UN on June 3 told Inner City Press "we never managed, technically."

  This either seems like news that should have been announced, or the UN's May 23 statement should have been retracted, that "on material shared by Anastasia Popova... the High Representative's Office has received the material and are converting it into a usable format, and it is being sent to the Head of the Team, Ake Sellstrom."

  At the June 3 press conference featuring UN High Representative on Disarmament Angela Kane, the moderator said that pressing questions could be asked afterward to the panelists. Inner City Press waited and asked Kane about the footage provided by Russian state TV reporter Anastasia Popova. Video here and embedded below.

  Kane said "it's like two seconds each picture." The UN official with her added, "we tried to make it as documentary... we never managed, technically."

Inner City Press cited back to the UN's May 23 statement. Kane said, "I had nothing to do with the response." She added that Sellstrom, Ban's chemical weapons prober, has "received a number" of submissions.

 Her colleague said Popova's was "dozens of very short clips." It seems clear that either what Popova submitted has NOT been given to Sellstrom, or if so it is not being taken seriously.

Back on April 30 at the Russian Mission to the UN, Popova, told Inner City Press that while she had information about the use of chemical weapons in Al-Asal, the UN panel headed by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro had declined to look at it.

  Inner City Press wrote the story, and on May 1 asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if Ban's prober Ake Sellstrom would be willing to look at Popova's evidence. Yes, Nesirky said, to the surprise of some.

  Now: did Sellstrom even get it?  And have he and Kane similarly (not) sought or got any of the information Carla Del Ponte referred to when she spoke of "strong suspicions" of chemical weapons used -- by the Syrian rebels, not the government? Watch this site.

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