U.N. General Assembly Denounces Syria Crackdown, but Takes Little Action
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly denounced Syria’s crackdown Friday in a symbolic effort meant to push the deadlocked Security Council and the world at large into action on stopping the country’s civil war.
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 with the international community’s failure to protect people from past genocide in Srebrenica and Rwanda.
“The conflict in Syria is a test of everything this organization stands for,” Ban said. “I do not want today’s United Nations to fail that test.”
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The vote came after the more powerful Security Council was stopped by a series of Russian and Chinese vetoes on resolutions that would have opened the door to sanctions on Syria.
The General Assembly vote was 133 in support of the resolution and 12 against, with 31 abstaining. Syria’s ambassador angrily called the vote “a piece of theater.”
Though General Assembly resolutions are unenforceable, a strong vote can carry moral weight.
Even so, the 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.
Russia and China had objected to those provisions. Both voted “no” Friday.