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UN General Assembly adopts resolution on Syria


UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua): The UN General Assembly adopted on Friday a resolution demanding all parties in Syria stop all forms of violence.

The resolution, penned by Saudi Arabia with support of other Arab nations, received 133 votes in favor, 12 against and 31 abstained.

Unlike those adopted by the Security Council, which is the most powerful body at the UN, resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are not legally binding. The voting requires a simple majority, and there is no veto.

The resolution condemned the Syrian authorities' increasing use of heavy weapons as well as continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It demanded all parties "immediately and visibly" implement relevant Security Council resolutions in order to "achieve a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, thereby creating an atmosphere conducive to a sustained cessation of violence and a Syrian-led political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people."

The General Assembly also asked the Syrian government to strictly observe their obligations under the international law with respect to chemical and biological weapons.

The Syrian government acknowledged that it had chemical and biological weapons, but vowed it would never use them in any inner fight or against Syrian people amid the current crisis.

This is the second resolution the General Assembly has adopted concerning the situation in Syria, which has plunged into a political crisis since March 2011. The first resolution, endorsed on February 16, voiced support for political transition in Syria, which was accused by some member states of pushing for a "regime change" in the conflict-plagued country.

Adballah Y. Al-Mouallimi, permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN whose country was reported to claim open support to the Syrian opposition, called the adoption of the resolution "a victory" for the Syrian people.

Western powers including the United States and Britain said they were pleased and welcomed the resolution.

Russia expressed its objection to the resolution a day before it was to put into a vote. A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday called the text "one-sided and unbalanced."

"Today's resolution is harmful and contradicts the efforts to help implement Annan's plan and the Geneva agreement of Group of Actions. It undermines the chance for launching a Syrian process for political settlement," Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

Wang Min, deputy permanent representative of China to the UN whose country also voted against the resolution, said that the Syrian problem can only by resolved fairly, peacefully and properly through political means, and that military means can only lead to more conflicts and bloodshed.

"The future and destiny of Syria should be decided by the Syrian people," he said. "Imposition of pressure on only one party will not help resolve Syrian issue. China is opposed to any action forcing a 'regime change' in Syria, and sanctions can only make the situation more complicated."

In his explanatory speech before the vote, Syrian UN ambassador Bashar Ja'afari accused the resolution of "misleading" and violating UN principles of respecting sovereignty and non- intervention of internal affairs of other states.

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