Russia Says UN Vote Undermines Peace Efforts in Syria
Moscow’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, told reporters the resolution was one-sided and supported the armed opposition.
Western nations praised the resolution, which passed by 133 votes to 12 with 31 abstentions.
It criticises both the UN’s own Security Council and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The assembly debated the resolution, which was proposed by Saudi Arabia, shortly after the resignation of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and the failure of his six-point peace plan.
In Syria, government forces backed by tanks launched a new assault in Damascus while shelling continued in the country’s largest city, Aleppo.
The resolution condemning the Syrian government and calling for a political transition is not legally binding, but its Arab and Western sponsors see the overwhelming “Yes” vote as proof that they have world opinion behind them, despite the deadlock in the Security Council, which they harshly criticised.
Even so, the massive majority came at a price: the text had to be watered down in an attempt to win over many states, dropping explicit calls for Bashar al-Assad to step down and for member states to support Arab League sanctions.
And even though the opposition was small, it again included China and Russia. Moscow opposed the resolution as unbalanced, making clear that it believes the UN is taking one side in a civil war. So the General Assembly intervention will do nothing to bridge the fundamental divides in the Security Council, and may widen them.
Activists say more than 20,000 people - mostly civilians - have died in 17 months of unrest.