UN general assembly condemns Syria crackdown

Saturday, August 04, 2012
Damascus: The United Nations’ General Assembly on Friday approved a non-binding majority resolution that condemns the use of ‘heavy weapons’ by Syria government and its failure to stern the violence in Syria.

United Nations Assembly at New York
Remarkable that the assembly move comes a day after Kofi Annan stepped down as U.N. Arab League envoy to Syria, blaming what he called a lack of unity in the Security Council.

The resolution was adopted with 133 states in favor, 12 voting against, and 31 abstaining.

Those who have voted against the resolution were Russia, China, Belarus, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela.

The vote came as Syrian activists report more violence in the 17-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Kicking off debate on the resolution, U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon reportedly has said the Syria conflict is now a "proxy war" and urged major powers to end the violence. He added:  "the immediate interests of the Syrian people must be paramount over any larger rivalries of influence."

Syrian troops were reportedly massing troops and tanks in a Damascus suburb.

The group also reported clashes and government attacks Friday in other areas of the country, including the provinces of Hama, Idlib and Aleppo. In Daraa province, it said government forces were using helicopters.

In the wake of Annan's resignation, Britain pledged to increase its support for the Syrian rebels.

The White House said Mr. Annan's resignation highlights the failure of Russia and China to back meaningful resolutions against Assad.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China regrets Mr. Annan's resignation and supports the U.N. continuing to play an important role in an appropriate solution to the conflict.

Both the Syrian rebels and the government failed to commit themselves to Mr. Annan's peace plan for Syria, which included an immediate cease-fire and talks on a transitional government. 

The three Security Council resolutions that China and Russia vetoed would have held President Assad responsible for his failure to abide by the Annan plan and threatened him with sanctions.
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