U.N. Security Council calls for peace, disarmament of chemical weapons in Syria

A meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday called for the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and embraced a diplomatic plan for Geneva II talks to bring Syria towards peace.

The council unanimously adopted resolution 2118 (2013) and called for an immediate implementation of its guidelines, created by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which call for the "expeditious destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons programme and stringent verification thereof."

The resolutions also calls for the prohibition of involvement with anything related to chemical weapons in Syria.

"Today's historic resolution is the first hopeful news on Syria in a long time," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "For many months, I have said that the confirmed use of chemical weapons in Syria would require a firm, united response. Tonight, the international community has delivered."

Ban, when addressing the Security Council, added that violence in Syria persists. More than 100,000 lives have been claimed by the conflict, which began in March 2011. Ban suggested the initiation of Geneva II to diplomatically bring a peaceful end to the conflict.

"The United Nations is ready to host Geneva II," Ban said. "It is time for the parties to focus on how to build the peaceful, democratic future Syria needs. All those with influence on the parties must use that influence now. It is crucial to keep up the momentum. Today can and must be a stepping stone to peace."