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UN General Assembly denounces Syrian crackdown

August 03, 2012


Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari, right, listens to speakers during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations. -AP Photo

UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced Syria's crackdown Friday and demanded the lockdown of its chemical and biological weapons.    

The vote came as the more powerful Security Council has been deadlocked by Russian and Chinese vetoes on resolutions that would open the door to sanctions on Syria. The vote was 133 in support of the resolution and 12 against, with 31 abstaining.

General Assembly resolutions are unenforceable 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 General Assembly resolution's Arab sponsors this week weakened two key provisions, a demand that President Bashar Assad resign and a call for other nations to place sanctions on Syria over its civil war.

Russia and China had objected to those provisions. The vote was meant in part to pressure the Security Council to act, but frustration over the lack of action so far was clear.

A frustrated former UN chief Kofi Annan resigned Thursday as the joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria after his peace proposals failed.

Before the vote, 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.''