Friday, August 3, 2012

Syria crisis: UN general assembly backs new resolution

(The Guardian) The UN general assembly has overwhelmingly denounced Syria's crackdown and demanded the securing of its chemical and biological weapons.

Voting was 133 in favour, with 12 against and 31 abstentions.

General Assembly resolutions are not enforceable but can carry moral weight.

The resolution says "the first step in the cessation of violence has to be made by the Syrian authorities".

The resolution's Arab sponsors had earlier diluted two key provisions: a demand that President Assad resign and a call for other countries to impose sanctions on Syria.

Russia and China had objected to those provisions.

The Associated Press says the vote was meant in part to pressure the security council to act, but frustration over the lack of action so far was clear.

Before the vote, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon reminded the assembly of the fresh violence in the city of Aleppo and drew comparisons between the failure to act in Syria to past genocide in Srebrenica and Rwanda.

"The acts of brutality that are being reported may constitute crimes against humanity or war crimes," he said of the Aleppo fighting. "Such acts must be investigated and the perpetrators held to account."

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