by Xinhua Writer Deng Yushan
BEIJING, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Monday heard an authoritative briefing on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, and now is expected to gear up and hammer out a workable plan to ensure an early destruction of such arms in the war-ravaged country.
It is a welcome and encouraging development that the main world body responsible for maintaining international peace and security is back at center stage on the globally threatening Syria crisis, after being left on the sidelines for too long. But it is just the beginning.
The Syrian chemical disarmament process should suffer no delay. UN investigators have formally confirmed that poison gas was used on Aug. 21 outside Damascus in the brutal conflict, "also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale."
The horrendous incident was a gross violation of international law; those responsible should be brought to justice.
But it is imperative that the international community work out a proper response under the representative framework of the United Nations, instead of allowing individual or blocs of countries to take the process into their own hands.
In order to prevent such horrors from happening again to the turmoil-torn Syrian people in the protracted conflict, the current priority is to build on Saturday's Russian-U.S. agreement and map out an appropriate and effective course of action to dismantle Syria's chemical-weapons arsenal.
The task is daunting. Extraordinary perseverance and prudence are needed to find out the number, categories, whereabouts, controllers and conditions of the chemical weapons in Syria and eventually secure, remove and destroy them.
The absence of abatement in fighting adds to the undertaking as much difficulty as urgency.
Against such a dire backdrop, all parties involved in the Syrian conflict, including both the government and the opposition, should guarantee "immediate and unfettered" access for international experts, so as to rid the country of such nasty weapons as soon as possible.
However, the chemical-weapons issue is just a particularly outrageous part of the overall Syria crisis. The international community should continue, in parallel with the chemical disarmament process, to seek an immediate end of all kinds of violence and push for a comprehensive permanent solution.
The recent diplomatic momentum -- bringing the United States and Russia to a deal, preventing a widely anticipated military intervention in Syria and restoring the UN Security Council to its due role -- should be sustained.
Only through political means can the already 30-month-old Syria crisis be settled for good. It is of particular significance that the international community adhere to the path set out in last year's Geneva peace conference and convene "Geneva II" as soon as possible.
The toll of more than 100,000 killed and millions displaced is already too appalling to allow any more counterproductive unilateralism and UN circumvention.
UN: chemical weapons used in Ghouta, Syria, "on a relatively large scale"
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chemical weapons were used at Ghouta, Syria, on Aug. 21 "on a relatively large scale resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children," a UN report said Monday.
In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accompanying the report, Ake Sellstrom, the head of the mission that was responsible for investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, said there was evidence rockets and the nerve gas sarin were employed. Full story
News Analysis: UN report fuels debate on chemical weapons in Syria
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The highly anticipated UN report confirming the use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21 killing hundreds of people is only five pages long but has unleashed uncountable words of argument.
The report itself was never intended to point fingers, only to determine if chemical weapons were used. Now the debate is in high pitch, with each side citing aspects of the report that buttresses their argument. The divide is classically East-West. Full story