Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN General Assembly Condemns Syrian Authorities

RIA Novosti

01:59 17/02/2012 UNITED NATIONS, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - The UN General Assembly on Thursday adopted a non-binding resolution condemning Syria’s authorities for human rights violations and calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Russia and China voted against the resolution, which was similar to one the two countries vetoed on February 4 in the UN Security Council triggering angry reaction from the West.

In the 193-member General Assembly, 137 countries voted for the resolution and 12 against with 17 abstentions.

Russia voted against because its amendments to the draft resolution had not been adopted. In particular, the country proposed including in the resolution a call on all opposition forces in Syria to distance themselves from violent armed groups and stop attacking state institutions.

Syria on Sunday rejected an Arab League resolution calling for a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping force in the country as well as tightening economic sanctions on Damascus. The resolution came a week after Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution on Syria to prevent the repetition of “the Libyan scenario.”

In Libya, rebels ousted and killed long-standing dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 after a months-long military standoff in which they received assistance from NATO forces.

The Arab League has been at the forefront of regional efforts to end violence in Syria. The group put forward a plan that Assad agreed to in December and then sent monitors to Syria. The League withdrew its monitoring mission from Syria in January because the regime failed to end the bloodshed.

At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government's 11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.

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