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UN chief expresses concerns on Syria's chemical weapons

(Xinhua)

15:16, July 24, 2012

BELGRADE, July 23 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here on Monday he was concerned about the possibility of Syria using chemical weapons, calling such an action "reprehensible."

"It would be reprehensible if anyone in Syria would use weapons of mass destruction," Ban told reporters in Belgrade.

His remarks came as Syria acknowledged earlier in the day that it had chemical and biological weapons.

For the Syrian side, a foreign ministry spokesman said Monday chemical or germ weapons would never be used in any inner fight or against Syrian people amid the current crisis, "no matter how this crisis evolves."

Jihad Makdissi added that those arms are monitored and guarded by the Syrian army, and will be used strictly in case of specific outside aggression.

"Chemical weapons in Syria are stored in their places and are monitored and guarded by the Syrian Arab army, these weapons are meant to be used only and strictly during the event of external aggression against the Syrian Arab republic," Makdissi told a press conference Monday.

Makdissi stressed that "these weapons would not be used, under any circumstance, in any internal rift and regardless of the developments of this crisis."

Ban was on a visit to Balkans countries, which has taken him to Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro.

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