United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged sabre-rattling Western powers to look for a diplomatic way forward over the Syrian conflict.
He asked for expert UN weapons inspectors to be given the proper time needed to determine whether chemical weapons were used in an attack last week in Damascus, and if so by whom.
Speaking at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Mr Ban urged restraint on members of the UN Security Council, which will today be asked to agree "all means necessary" to tackle the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The UN chief declared: “It is essential to establish the facts. A UN investigation team is now on the ground to do just that. Just days after the attack, they have collected valuable samples and interviewed victims and witnesses.
"The team needs time to do its job, Give peace a chance, give diplomacy a chance, stop fighting and start talking,” he said.
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before becoming Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations.
The Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, is frequently called "the seat of international law", because it houses the International Court of Justice (which is the principal judicial body of the United Nations), the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, and an extensive library.
In addition to hosting these institutions, the Palace is also a regular venue for special events in international policy and law.
The Peace Palace officially opened on 28 August 1913, and was originally built to provide a symbolic home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration, a court created to end war which was set up by treaty at the 1899 Hague Peace Conference.
* 'Syria: what lies behind the clamour for military strikes?', by Simon Barrow: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18911
* More on Syria from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syria