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U.N. weapons team lands in Beirut en route to Syria

July 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM   |   Comments

BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 23 (UPI) -- A U.N. mission investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria arrived Tuesday in Beirut on its way to Syria, the Lebanese government said.

Lebanon's official National News Agency reports U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane arrived Tuesday in Beirut with Ake Sellstrom, a former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq and head of a fact-finding mission investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The British government last week said it had evidence the use of chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, was sanctioned by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Western governments have said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be the trigger for a more comprehensive response to alleged abuses committed by the Assad regime.

Conflict in Iraq and Lebanon has been tied to Syria's civil war. Pro-Western leaders in Beirut said Hezbollah's actions in Syria were creating national security challenges for Lebanon.

The European Union decided Monday to designate the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The Shiite movement holds political office in Beirut.

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri criticized the move, accusing the European Union of bowing to the demands of Israel.

The European Union should "reconsider its decision which affects, with no doubt, all the Lebanese and their interests in Europe," he was quoted by the Lebanese news agency as saying. "The decision finally exposes the fragile Lebanese situation to more tension."

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