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UN reveals WMD was used in Syria -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: The UN chief Ban Ki-moon has spoken candidly, saying he expects weapons inspectors will soon confirm that chemical weapons were used in last month's attack in Damascus, and that the Syrian president has committed many crimes against humanity.

Although there are doubts about whether he knew his comments were being broadcast, a US State Department spokeswoman has said America is also confident the UN inspectors' report will confirm the use of toxic gas.

Meanwhile, talks are continuing between the US and Russia in Geneva to hammer out an agreement over how to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control.

Here's our Europe correspondent Mary Gearin.

MARY GEARIN: The comments from the UN chief may have raised the stakes, as well as eyebrows.

While speaking to a Women's International Forum, he said this of the report from the chemical weapons inspectors who examined the site of last month's massacre in Damascus:

BAN KI-MOON: Our team will come out soon with a report. But I believe that the report will be a overwhelming, overwhelming report that the chemical weapons was used, even though I cannot publicly say at this time before I receive this report.

MARY GEARIN: That last comment has suggested the UN chief didn't know his words were being broadcast.

While Ban Ki-moon did not say Assad forces were responsible for the Damascus attack, he did say the Syrian president has committed many crimes against humanity.

He went on to be notably candid about his frustration with the UN Security Council member states.

BAN KI-MOON: They are divided. They have been divided during the last two and a half years. Not a single resolution has been able to be adopted. Can you just believe? It's an incredible situation that the Security Council has not been able to adopt any single resolution, even humanitarian issues, not to mention political and security issues. They are divided. I am very much troubled by this. This is a failure by the United Nations.

MARY GEARIN: Meanwhile in Geneva, representatives of two of those member states have met for a second day: the US secretary of state John Kerry and Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

Before they resumed discussions, Mr Kerry held out the prospect of a wider political solution, saying a date could soon be set for the long-awaited Geneva Two peace conference, if the talks on chemical weapons go well.

It's believed the main stumbling block is whether the threat of military action should be part of the agreement.

John Kerry stressed the parties' common ground.

JOHN KERRY: Both of us - Sergey Lavrov and I, our countries, our presidents - are deeply concerned about the death toll and destruction, the acts on both sides, all sides. President Obama is deeply committed to a negotiated solution with respect to Syria, and we know that Russia is likewise.

MARY GEARIN: As the talks continue, a report from Human Rights Watch has put a spotlight on the bloody non-chemical warfare still raging in the country.

It says government forces and pro-Assad militias summarily executed at least 248 people over two days in May.

Peter Bouckaert from Human Rights Watch says the ongoing daily slaughter can't be forgotten.

PETER BOUCKAER: The announcement that Russia and the US are talking about has also been a green light for Syria to continue to kill its own people. And one of the worst scenarios will be to have blue helmets on the ground looking for chemical weapons at the same time that the Syrian government continues to kill its own people with much more conventional weapons.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Peter Bouckaert from Human Rights Watch, ending that report from Mary Gearin.