3 August 2012

General Assembly, in Resolution, Demands All in Syria ‘Immediately and Visibly’ Commit to Ending Violence that Secretary-General Says Is Ripping Country Apart

3 August 2012
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly


124th & 125th Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly, in Resolution, Demands All in Syria ‘Immediately and Visibly’

Commit to Ending Violence that Secretary-General Says Is Ripping Country Apart

General Assembly ‘Again Proves Its Power and Authority’, Says Its President

From Qatar; Syria’s Speaker Denounces Resolution as ‘Misleading and Hysterical’

Gravely concerned by the escalating violence in Syria, the General Assembly today strongly condemned Damascus’ indiscriminate use of heavy weapons in civilian areas and its widespread violations of human rights, demanding that all parties “immediately and visibly” commit to ending a conflict that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “a test of everything this Organization stands for”.

By a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 12 against, with 31 abstentions, the Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution expressing its concern about a raft of gross human rights violations being carried out by Syrian Government forces, systematic attacks against civilians, and the increasing use of “heavy weapons, armour and the air force against populated areas”.  It was also concerned by the humanitarian impact of the violence, including repression of fundamental rights, and the influx Syrian refugees into neighbouring countries. (See Annex.)

Deploring the Security Council’s failure to agree on measures to ensure the Syrian authority’s compliance with its decisions — most recently when, on 20 July, China and the Russian Federation vetoed a Council resolution that threatened sanctions if demands to end the spiralling violence were not met — the Assembly expressed its determination to seek ways and means to provide protection for the Syrian civilian population.

Its four-part resolution drafted by the Arab Group and sponsored by scores of other countries covered accountability, the humanitarian situation, political transition and follow-up.  In it, the Assembly stressed that rapid progress on a political transition represented the “best opportunity” to resolve the 18-month-long crisis peacefully.  It demanded in that regard that all the parties to the conflict work with the Office of the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to implement rapidly the transition plan for Syria set forth in the final communiqué issued by the Action Group on 30 June.

While the Assembly’s action came less than 24 hours after the Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, announced in frustration that he would not renew his mandate when it expired at the end of August, the resolution nevertheless fully backed his demand that the first step in ending the violence must be made by the Syrian authorities, and therefore called on the Government to fulfil immediately its commitment to cease the use of heavy weapons and complete the withdrawal of Government troops. 

Following threats by the Syrian authorities to use chemical or biological weapons in the conflict, the resolution also demanded that the Government refrain from using or transferring such weapons to non-State actors, and that it respect international obligations regarding those weapons.  The text went on to condemn all violence, “regardless of where it comes from, including terrorist acts”, and demanded that all parties immediately implement Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012), both adopted in April, in order to achieve a cessation of all armed violence, “thereby creating an atmosphere conducive to […] a Syrian-led political transition that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people”.

Before the vote, Secretary-General Ban drew chilling comparisons between the current deadly fighting in Aleppo — “the epicentre of a vicious battle between the Syrian Government and those who wish to replace it” — and Srebrenica, which he said represented one of the darkest chapters in United Nations history, “when the international community failed to protect civilians from slaughter”.

“Today, we are all witnesses to the horrors of Syria being ripped apart by violence,” he said, noting that the acts of brutality being reported might constitute crimes against humanity or war crimes, which must be investigated and the perpetrators held to account.  Despite repeated verbal acceptances of the six-point plan endorsed by the Security Council, both the Government and the opposition continued to rely on weapons, not diplomacy, in the belief that they would win through violence.  “But there are no winners in Aleppo today, or anywhere else in the country.  The losers in this escalating battle are the people of Syria,” he said, reiterating his regret that sharp divisions had paralyzed action in the Security Council. 

Continuing, the Secretary-General noted that last week in Geneva, Foreign Ministers of the Action Group, including the five permanent Council members, had agreed on an action plan.  “Now, with the situation having worsened, they must again find common ground.  The immediate interests of the Syrian people must be paramount over any larger rivalries of influence,” he declared.  The conflict in Syria was a test of everything the Organization stood for, he said, adding:  “I do not want today’s United Nations to fail that test.  I want us all to show the people of Syria and the world that we have learned the lessons of Srebrenica.”

Opening the meeting with a strong call for action, Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser also spotlighted the situation in Aleppo, where, he said, intensified military operations by the Syrian Government forces had led to daily “gross human rights violations”.  The League of Arab States and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had repeatedly indicated that such acts might amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes, he added.

“I am deeply concerned about this horrifying escalation,” he said, condemning the continued widespread atrocities and violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities, as well as “horrifying” reports about mass killings, extrajudicial executions, and deliberate targeting of civilians.  All parties to the conflict had responsibilities under international law to adhere to.  Those responsible must be held accountable.  “It is time to act.  Words are not enough.  The international community is responsible to act without further delay.”

He said that the deadlock in the Security Council “sends the wrong signals to all parties in the Syrian conflict”.  Yet, in such times of deadlock, the General Assembly, under the United Nations Charter, had a role to play in the maintenance of international peace and security.  “Today, once again, the Assembly proves its power and authority,” he declared, adding:  “We have to provide the necessary assistance to the people of Syria to find an all-inclusive and peaceful solution to the crisis.”

Taking the floor ahead of action, Syria’s representative, who requested that the resolution be put to a vote, denounced the text as “misleading and hysterical” and a violation of the principles of international law, which was not intended to protect Syrians.  In fact, the resolution would send the wrong message to terrorists inside and outside of Syria, and would escalate violence in the region.  He also noted the “strange paradox” that the States sponsoring the text were the same ones that were providing weapons to the terrorist groups in Syria.  

Those States were also providing political media coverage to the armed groups and were enforcing unilateral sanctions, which not only conflicted with the six-point plan, but also violated international law.  He said that if those States were truly concerned, they would channel all of the billions of dollars they were spending to arm terrorist groups to humanitarian aid instead.  No one in Syria had seen any such humanitarian assistance thus far, despite agreements reached with the United Nations on a response plan some months ago.  “I am proud to stand here to defend against all conspirators against my nation,” he said, adding that a General Assembly President should be neutral in his role, but the current President, from Qatar, had violated that principle for probably the tenth time.

Among the more than 30 delegations speaking before and after the vote, most echoed serious concern for the civilians in Aleppo and other areas gripped by violence.  Many speakers hailed the Assembly’s decision to act, especially in the face of the ongoing stalemate in the Security Council.  Yet, while some decried Syria’s brutal repression of what had begun as peaceful protests, and expressed concern that the crisis was sliding into civil war, several speakers stressed that the Assembly resolution should have included specific and equally strong calls on the opposition to end the violence.  Calling the text “one sided” and “politically motivated”, others lamented its omission of references to the growing influence on the conflict of outside actors, including those with ties to Al-Qaida.

As he introduced the text on behalf of the Arab Group, the representative of Saudi Arabia, said that in response to Mr. Annan’s six-point plan, the international community had received in return six massacres carried out by the Syrian “Government killing machine” in Baba Amr, Al-Rastan, Houla, Traimsh, Foquir and today in Aleppo.  Moreover, a political process was “nowhere to be found”.  The Assembly’s action aimed to show that the time was now to begin a peaceful transfer of power in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people “and preserve the blood of their children”.  It also aimed to guarantee security, safety and equality of rights and duties for all Syrian people of different ethnic, religious and sectarian affiliations.

Yet, the representative of the Russian Federation regretted the adoption of the text, which, he said, would only exacerbate confrontation and hamper the search for a peaceful solution.  “Behind the façade of humanitarian rhetoric, it hides support for the armed opposition,” he declared, and added that it was no coincidence that the countries backing the opposition were the most vocal supporters of the resolution.  He also said that members of the Security Council should work hand-in-hand and not go outside that body to find solutions. 

Speaking in explanation of position before action were the representatives of Venezuela, Cuba, South Africa, Bolivia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ecuador, Iran and Bahamas.

Taking the floor after the vote were the representatives of Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Viet Nam, Israel, United Republic of Tanzania, China, Uruguay, Argentina, Nigeria, Serbia, Dominican Republic, India, Guyana, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Libya, Qatar and Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Arab Group).

A representative of the delegation of the European Union also addressed the meeting.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Iran, Bahrain and Syria.

The General Assembly met this morning to consider the item on prevention of armed conflict, for which it had before it draft resolution on the situation in Syria (document A/66/L.57).

Opening Remarks

NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER, President of the General Assembly, said the world body was meeting at a time of unprecedented violence in Syria.  Recently, Syrian Government forces had intensified their military operations against areas presumed to be strongholds of armed opposition groups, particularly in and around Damascus and Aleppo.  “Gross human rights violations are occurring daily in the context of increasingly militarized fighting,” he said, adding that the League of Arab States, the Human Rights Council and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had repeatedly indicated that such acts might amount to crimes against humanity and other international crimes.

“I am deeply concerned about this horrifying escalation,” he said, condemning continued widespread atrocities and violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities.  He said that there were “horrifying reports about mass killings, rape, extrajudicial executions, torture and deliberate targeting of civilians”.  All parties to the conflict had responsibilities under international law to adhere to.  Those responsible must be held accountable. “It is time to act.  Words are not enough.  The international community is responsible to act without further delay.”

Deeply regretting that the Security Council had again been unable to unite and take collective action to put an end to the appalling crisis in Syria, he said that the deadlock in the Council “sends the wrong signals to all parties in the Syrian conflict”.  Yet, in such times of deadlock, the General Assembly, under the United Nations Charter, had a role to play in the maintenance of international peace and security.  “Today, once again, the Assembly proves its power and authority,” he declared, adding:  “We had to provide the necessary assistance to the people of Syria to find an all-inclusive and peaceful solution to the crisis.”

He recalled that the Assembly’s 16 February resolution had paved the way for the appointment of Kofi Annan as the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, and for the subsequent adoption later of that official’s six-point plan.  None of that had been easy, and he had immediately expressed regrets when he had learned yesterday of Mr. Annan’s decision not to renew his mandate when it expired at the end of the month.  “This announcement, I understand, obliges us more than ever before to move forward with persistence and to take additional measures to protect the Syrian people from the continued atrocities they are subjected to,” he said.

The six-point plan was not being implemented and the violence was increasing, and, as such, Member States had gathered today to face their responsibilities, he said.  Indeed, they had no choice but to take the necessary credible action.  “The credibility of the United Nations is at stake; regional stability in the Middle East is at stake.  The lives of thousands of innocent people depend on our response,” he said, urging all Member States to support the current draft resolution to fulfil that important task.

BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, said eight days ago he had visited Srebrenica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He recounted how the international community had failed to protect civilians from slaughter there, and how, later, world leaders, partly in reaction to genocide in Srebrenica and in Rwanda, had come together under the United Nations to support the concept of responsibility to protect and had agreed to work collectively when faced with Governments unable or unwilling to protect their citizens.  Today, the world was witnessing the horrors of Syria being ripped apart by violence.  Aleppo, one of the most ancient and storied cities in the world, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, was the epicentre of a vicious battle between the Syrian Government and those seeking to replace it.

He said reported acts of brutality could constitute crimes against humanity or war crimes; they must be investigated and the perpetrators held to account.  Many of the thousands of displaced Syrians needed humanitarian assistance.  Both the Government and the opposition continued to rely on weapons, not diplomacy.  The losers in that escalating battle were the Syrian people.  Especially tragic was that the catastrophe was avoidable.  All the dire predictions of the last 18 months had come to pass.  The grim possibility of long-term civil war destroying Syria’s rich tapestry of interwoven communities was now evident. 

“This would have tragic implications for Syria’s people and could affect stability across the region.  We must not let this prediction come true,” he said, stressing the need to use all peaceful means in the United Nations Charter to unite around a Syrian-led transition process based on dialogue and compromise, not bullets and arrests.  He regretted the divisions that had paralyzed action in the Security Council.  On 30 June in Geneva, Foreign Ministers of the Action Group, including the five permanent Council members, agreed on an action plan, he said.  Now, as the situation had worsened, they must again find common ground, he said, stressing that the “the immediate interests of the Syrian people must be paramount over any larger rivalries of influence”.

Despite the difficulties, the United Nations was active on the ground, he said, delivering humanitarian aid to those it could through the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the country team.  The United Nations Supervision Mission in the Syrian Arab Republic (UNSMIS), despite the deteriorating security environment, played an essential role in monitoring developments.  United Nations human rights officials continued to work towards documentation that could help with essential accountability.  And the Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, had sought to engage with Syrians across the political spectrum and with those who had influence inside the country in a bid to use diplomacy to end the bloodshed and move toward a Syrian-led political transition.

He said yesterday he announced with deep regret the resignation of Mr. Annan, who deserved “our deepest admiration for his efforts over the past several months”, for bringing tremendous skill and determination to the task.  Yet both the Syrian Government and the opposition forces spurned the hand offered to them, and continued to demonstrate their determination to rely on violence.  Moreover, the sharp differences in the Security Council themselves made the Envoy’s work more difficult.  He said he was consulting with League of Arab States Secretary-General Nabil El Araby to appoint a successor.

“But let me be clear:  Mediation can only succeed where there is a commitment to solving conflict through dialogue and real leverage to back it up,” he said.  He praised the commitment and courage of everyone in the United Nations working in Syria.  The situation would be even worse if the United Nations were absent.  He urged Member States to continue to provide support and the mandate for the Organization’s work.  “The conflict in Syria is a test of everything this organization stands for,” he said.  “I do not want today’s United Nations to fail that test.  I want us all to show the people of Syria and the world that we have learned the lessons of Srebrenica.  United international pressure can make a difference.”

“The Syrian people need action,” he said, adding, “their aspirations have been denied.  Their suffering is profound, and the increasing militarization promises only worse.”  The refusal of those on the ground to stop the violence did not absolve the rest of the international community to act.  “I urge all members of this Assembly to face up to the collective responsibilities we shoulder,” he said.

Action on Draft

ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia), in his capacity as Chair of the Arab Group, then introduced the draft text on the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (document A/66/L.57), recalling that, a few months ago, the Assembly had adopted a similar resolution based on the decisions of the Arab League.  That text had led to the appointment of Kofi Annan as Joint Special Envoy, who had since sought a peaceful and comprehensive political solution to the Syrian crisis through his six-point plan.  The deployment of United Nations observers and the adoption of the so-called Geneva declaration had followed that appointment, all playing a role in the effort to stop “the Government’s killing machine that had been slaughtering the courageous Syrian people”.

But what had Mr. Annan, the international community and the Syrian people received in return for such efforts, he asked? For the six-point plan they had received six massacres, in Baba Amr, Al-Rastan, Houla, Traimsh, Foquir and today in Aleppo.  Moreover, instead of protecting the international observers and facilitating their mission, the Syrian authorities had left them endangered and threatened and forced them to take refuge in their residences.  “And as for the political solution?  It is nowhere to be found,” he said.  To that end, Mr. Annan had appealed to the Security Council to demand that the Syrian Government fulfil its obligations or face the consequences, but that body’s efforts had been stymied by a double veto, giving the impression that the Council was turning a blind eye to the painful reality in Syria.  That reality had become a great threat to peace and security, at the regional and international levels, in addition to adding to the suffering of the Syrian people. 

Accordingly, following appropriate amendments, the sponsors presented to the Assembly today its draft, fully confident that the conscience of the world would not ignore the distress and pride of the Syrian people who faced artillery and tanks.  He urged its adoption, which reaffirmed that the international community “does not tolerate what is happening in Syria; does not accept the ongoing killings, persecution and massacres”.  The violent attacks by the Syrian troops made the Assembly’s action more important than ever before, and it aimed to show that the time was now to begin a peaceful transfer of power in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people “and preserve the blood of their children”.  It also aimed to guarantee security, safety and equality of rights and duties for all Syrian people of different ethnic, religious and sectarian affiliations.

The representative of Syria said it was a strange paradox that the States sponsoring the text were the same ones that were providing weapons to the terrorist groups in Syria.  Western media outlets had confirmed that fact.  They had also confirmed that missiles had arrived via Turkey to those armed groups.  Those media outlets were leading a hysterical media campaign against Syria.  Those States were also providing political media coverage to the armed groups and were enforcing unilateral sanctions, which not only conflicted with the six-point plan, but also violated international law.  If those States were truly concerned, they would channel all of the billions of dollars they were spending to arm terrorist groups to humanitarian aid instead.  No one in Syria had seen any such humanitarian assistance thus far, despite agreements reached with the United Nations on a humanitarian response plan some months ago.  Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, which had sponsored today’s draft resolution, could not in any way be considered oases of democracy.  The situation of human rights and basic freedoms in those countries was considered among the worst in the world by human rights organizations.

He said that other States sponsoring the draft did not have any credibility as they had manipulated many United Nations resolutions in the past.  It was dangerous for them to sponsor such a text, which granted legitimacy to an agenda that had shaken the trust of the international community, especially after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.  During the current crisis, Syria had witnessed a series of suicide terrorist explosions and a number of Arab and non-Arab terrorists associating intellectually with Al-Qaida in order to implement “creative chaos” in Syria.  Some States had sent terrorists to Syria.  But the draft’s sponsors had failed to mention those terrorists in the text.  Many Western countries were awakening terrorist sleeping cells in Syria.  Some countries were carrying out an organized campaign of incitement.  States, groups and individuals that incited violence should be criminalized.

He asked if the draft truly intended to implement international laws to protect Syrians.  On the contrary, it was a “misleading and hysterical” text that violated the principles of international law.  It would send the wrong message to terrorists inside and outside of Syria, and it would escalate violence in the region.  Therefore, he requested that it be put to vote and he called upon all States to oppose it.  

He said he had expected Saudi Arabia to submit a draft on Israel’s occupation instead of on Syria.  The incitement of murder had reached a level in which Saudi and Qatari media were no longer satisfied with targeting Syria, but were now also targeting the Permanent Representative personally and his family.  “I am proud to stand here to defend against all conspirators against my nation,” he said, adding that he had received several death threats from websites in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States.  A General Assembly President should be neutral in his role, but the current President, from Qatar, had violated that principle for probably the tenth time during his term.

JORGE VALERO BRICEÑO (Venezuela) said that the draft resolution was an intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign and independent State.  It proposed the establishment of protection mechanism against a sovereign country.  The draft lacked objectivity.  It described a long list of trivial human rights violations attributed to the Syrian Government, but minimized or concealed the human rights crimes committed by terrorist groups and the armed opposition.  It ignored the political and constitutional reforms promoted by the Syrian Government, aimed at reaching an inclusive, democratic and peaceful national agreement.  Every sovereign State had the right to defend its national sovereignty and to protect public and private property.  That right must not be denied or infringed upon.

He said the Syrian Government did not face a democratic opposition that used peaceful and constitutional means for achieving its purposes.  Instead, it was an opposition that practiced or supported terrorism and which survived, owing to foreign support.  That armed opposition refused to participate in a democratic and pluralistic dialogue.  The only viable option to end the armed violence in Syria was through a sincere and inclusive political dialogue.  Venezuela supported the position taken by the Russian Federation, China and other countries that defended the principles of sovereignty, self-determination and territorial integrity, which were enshrined in the United Nations Charter.  It was commendable that they opposed foreign intervention and that they advocated a Syrian-led solution.

Speaking next, the representative of Cuba said his delegation would vote against the draft because it would only lead to increased instability and violence.  The text was biased and could even pave the way for foreign intervention, “something for which we have baleful memories in the recent past”.  The text was an example of the prevailing view of Washington and other NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) capitals.  That view was being promulgated by the media in those capitals, whose reckless and one-sided reporting was only adding to the problem.  The true aim of the draft was not to assist the Syrian people towards a political solution; it was politically motivated and must be recognized as such.

The representative of South Africa said that his delegation deplored the violence and loss of life in Syria, “which is fast spiralling out of control”.  The actions by both sides, especially the use of heavy weapons, were shocking and should be deplored by all.  South Africa appreciated the support of regional actors, the United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to address the humanitarian situation.  He reminded the Assembly that IFRC had recently classified the situation as a “civil war”.  All sides had obligations under international law.  There could be no military solution, and, ultimately, the parties in Syria would have to negotiate a settlement.  The only question was whether they did so now or after a protracted and bloody civil war.

That was why, he said, his country had been disappointed that the Security Council had been unable to apply pressure on both sides to seek a peaceful political solution.  He supported the Assembly’s decision to adopt a text, but the current one should have been more balanced.  Indeed, an unbalanced text could be viewed as the Assembly’s expressed support for one side over the other.  The resolution should call strongly on the opposition to pursue a political solution and cease all violence.  Despite its misgivings on some aspects of the text, South Africa believed it was necessary for the United Nations to take action.

Bolivia’s representative said that his delegation would vote against the resolution.  The people of Syria were “trapped between two sides”, and the United Nations was duty-bound to help deal with the painful humanitarian crisis.  It was no longer a regional matter.  Yet, while the United Nations must act, such action had limits under its Charter.  Indeed, Charter principles proscribed intervention in the territorial integrity of States.  The resolution, if adopted, would not contribute to a solution; on the contrary, it would make matters worse.

Indeed, the aim of the text was not to assist the Syrian population, but to “defeat Damascus”.  “Anybody who doesn’t believe that needs only read it,” he said, explaining that, on at least on 14 occasions, it condemned the Syrian authorities of the worst international crimes, while making only a passing mention of the opposition’s action.  Neither did the draft mention the activities of outside terrorists and other armed groups working to destabilize Syria.  And while it set out a very detailed description of what type of democratic Government the people of Syria should strive to achieve, it did not recall what had happened in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.  He regretted that the draft had been rushed “hurriedly” to the Assembly after the Security Council had failed to act and after only the briefest of consultations among the Organization’s wider membership.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea stressed the very negative impact the situation in Syria was having in the Middle East region and he expressed his deepest concern over it.  The Syria issue must be addressed evenly and peacefully, and sovereignty must be fully respected, in line with the Charter.  Syria was a full-fledged United Nations Member State.  The Syrian Government and been democratically elected, and the principle of non-interference should be respected.  The impact of interference in State affairs in many instances had been disastrous.  If one shifted the focus from Syria to neighbouring countries, one could see that military interference had led to violence and the killing of innocent civilians.  That was evident in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The United States talked a lot about protection of civilians, but one must look at what that country was doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The United States only wanted regime change in Syria. 

He said the conflict could only be resolved through political dialogue and peaceful means.  Only the Syrian people knew what was in their best interests.  Outside interference could not resolve the problem.  It was hypocritical for the United States to talk about protection of civilians.

CAMILLO GONSALVES (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) said that the small but vibrant Syrian and Lebanese community within his country was also directly and often personally affected by the spiralling violence and atrocities in Syria, particularly as the war had moved to the major cities of Damascus and Aleppo.  Today’s resolution had many positive elements, which his country enthusiastically supported.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines shared the resolution’s concern for the civilian victims of the war, particularly the innocent women and children who had been killed or victimized by the warring parties.  However, other aspects of the resolution gave his country pause and made it question whether a laudable desire to speak and act on that matter had caused the international community to overlook many of the indisputable facts on the ground, as well as many of the principles that undergird the Organization.

He said Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was primarily concerned about the obvious omissions from the text, which were not only unbalanced, but, in a far more troubling implication than silence, suggested consent or endorsement of certain actions and actors.  It was a documented fact, for example, that elements of the opposition forces had assassinated members of the Syrian Government, either individually or through the use of crude bombs, which also murdered innocent civilians.  Surely, the international community could not catalogue the violations of the Syrian authorities while turning a blind eye to the type of despicable terrorism, which it condemned in every other context and nation.  The international community was also aware of the indisputable presence and activity of Al-Qaida and other extremists in Syria and their role in some anti-Government activity.

The representative of Ecuador said that on several occasions his nation had condemned Syria’s actions.  He reiterated his firm condemnation of human rights violations and expressed solidarity with the victims and their families.  He regretted Mr. Annan’s resignation, but hoped the six-point plan would continue to guide efforts.  He also regretted that the resolution would alter the mandate of the Special Envoy and that it tended to polarize the conflict without contributing to resolving it.  Human rights matters should be dealt with by the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  To bring such matters to the Assembly in New York only politicized the issue; it did not deal with the true victims in Syria.  For that reason, Ecuador would abstain from the vote.

The representative of Iran said the text ran contrary to all global efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict and it violated the Charter principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States.  It was a malicious desire of certain countries to topple the Syrian regime.  Only the Syrian people should decide their fate.  Military intervention by outside forces and weapons and communications equipment sent to the rebels exacerbated the situation and deepened the insecurity and political crisis, with negative consequences for the entire region.  In recent months, the attacks had become more deadly, and in the past few days, armed attacks in Aleppo had led to many deaths.  Yet, the draft failed to hold to account armed groups led by Al-Qaida, and it failed to condemn acts of terrorism.  It was clear who was behind arming the rebels.  Regrettably, some of those were sponsors of the draft, which imposed sanctions on Syria while people were in dire need of basic aid.  That was “collective punishment”.

He said he regretted Mr. Annan’s resignation.  After the recent meeting of the Security Council, some of its permanent members had rushed to announce that the Special Envoy’s mission was dead and that they would pursue their own direct action to address the conflict.  Such an approach was blatant interference in Syria’s internal affairs.  He expressed hope that Mr. Annan’s replacement would act along the same lines as Mr. Annan.  He was meanwhile concerned about the regional consequences of the conflict.  He encouraged political parties to engage in political dialogue with the Syrian Government, and he reiterated Iran’s readiness to hold talks between the Syrian Government and opposition parties.  Syria had historically played an essential role in the Middle East.  Everyone must work together in a practical way to end the conflict.  The text was unbalanced, one-sided and it did not reflect reality.  Therefore, Iran would vote against it.

The representative of the Bahamas said her delegation would support the draft because the welfare of the Syrian people should be the major concern of the Assembly and the wider international community.  The parties on the ground should immediately cease all violence and seek a political solution, and the Bahamas believed that the six-point plan of the Joint Special Envoy remained the building blocks of a peaceful resolution.  Indeed, she said, the Bahamas believed that plan could have been the basis for “a mission possible”, and regretted that Mr. Annan had decided not to renew his mandate.  In any case, the aim of the United Nations must remain assisting the Syrian people in achieving a peaceful resolution.

The Assembly then adopted the resolution be a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 12 against, with 31 abstentions (Annex I).

Speaking after action, the representative of Chile said that his delegation profoundly regretted Mr. Annan’s resignation.  The Envoy’s efforts had been hampered by the non-cooperation of the parties, most specifically, the Syrian Government.  Chile had voted in favour of the resolution and supported the efforts of the Assembly to raise its voice against massive and diffuse violations of human rights being perpetrated against Syrian civilians.  Over the past 18 months, the crisis in Syria had transformed form “brutal repression of peaceful protests to real civil war”, he said, regretting widespread violence and use of heavy weapons.  Chile condemned such violence “wherever it comes from” and called for its immediate halt.  He expressed his delegation’s ongoing support for the six-point plan, and encouraged the international community to support it, with respect for Syria’s territorial integrity and the efforts of the Syrian parties to achieve a peaceful solution.  Those responsible for the violence against civilians must be brought to justice, and he reaffirmed that the Security Council must carry out its duties as defined by the Charter.

REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) said that her country had voted in favour of the resolution because it fully supported the main message of the urgent need for a ceasefire, the cessation of violence in all its forms and the full implementation of Security Council Resolutions 2042 (2012) and 2043 (2012).  Brazil’s position should be seen as a message to all parties to renounce the use of force since there was no military solution to the conflict.  The primary responsibility for ending the violence, upholding the law, both domestic and international, and respecting human rights, lay with the Government, which must fully and immediately meet that grave and urgent responsibility.  At the same time, Brazil insisted that all parties must fulfil their obligations to halt violence and respect international humanitarian law, as well as actively engage in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict.

For its part, the international community had a key role to play in ensuring that the Annan Plan and the road map envisaged by the Action Group prevailed, she said, adding that international stakeholders must refrain from any actions that might deepen or prolong the conflict.  No legitimate purpose would be truly served by further militarization of the conflict and increased destabilization of Syria.  A political transition should be inclusive and led by Syrians themselves.   Brazil deeply regretted Mr. Annan’s decision not to renew his mandate.

The representative of Costa Rica said he had voted in favour of the text because in present circumstances it was a necessary response to the extremely grave suffering in Syria.  The Council’s inaction caused by the double veto and the enormous obstacles facing the United Nations-Arab League mediation fully justified the Assembly’s attempt to peacefully resolve the humanitarian tragedy, insecurity and instability in Syria.  The main source of the tragedy was the intransigence of the Syrian Government, its systematic use of violence against civilians, and its refusal to undertake mediation in good faith.  He regretted Mr. Annan’s resignation, but he understood that he had exhausted his capacity to influence the situation. 

He said that in addition to the intolerable human cost, the alarming combination of factors threatened to engulf the whole region and it had had led to a brutal civil war.  He appealed to the Syrian authorities to respect their commitment to international law.  Necessary measures must be taken to avoid further bloodshed and human rights violations by both the Government and the armed opposition.  The way in which a future Syrian Government was formed was a decision that belonged exclusively to the Syrian people.

The representative of Viet Nam stressed the need to end violence and resolve the situation through dialogue and a peaceful political solution.  He demanded full compliance with international law.  The Charter must be upheld, based on respect for independence, unity and territorial integrity.  He did not support practices that ran contrary to that principle.  He supported the Syrian-led political process in Syria, and called on the Assembly membership to support it.

The representative of the Russian Federation regretted the adoption of the text, which only exacerbated confrontation and hampered the search for a peaceful way to resolve the crisis.  Behind the façade of humanitarian rhetoric, it hid support for the armed opposition.  It was not a coincidence that the countries supporting the opposition were the most active sponsors of the resolution.  The document included statements about the inability of the Security Council to react to the crisis.  That was not true.  Council members should work hand-in-hand and not go outside the Council to find solutions.  Today’s resolution was harmful since it undermined the chances for a Syrian-led process to settle the conflict. 

He deeply regretted Mr. Annan’s decision to resign and hoped for the appointment of a successor.  The important thing at present was to prevent the slackening of international efforts.  Members of the Action Group should require strict implementation by all parties and send a clear signal to end the violence.  It was particularly crucial to maintain a United Nations presence in the country, and UNSMIS was the only independent source of objective information there.

The representative of Israel said that the civilians in Syria were the deliberate targets of a brutal regime and its evil allies who would commit any crime to keep Bashar al-Assad in power.  On the ground, Iranians were assisting Assad’s henchmen.  They had been deployed on Syrian soil to help sustain the regime and take part in its killing spree against the Syrian people.  The outside forces that had been instrumental in the slaughter spoke in a Persian accent.  Unfortunately, many in the international community did not yet acknowledge that fact, despite overwhelming evidence that supported it.  While the Security Council remained paralyzed in New York, Assad’s “council of terror” continued to operate ruthlessly in Damascus.  On Assad’s advisory board sat Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Nasrallah, who offered him guidance on how to butcher the Syrian people more effectively.  Bashar al-Assad had no moral authority to govern.  He had no legitimacy to rule and he never did.  It was time for all in the United Nations to speak clearly, decisively and truthfully about the reality on the ground in Syria.

The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania expressed sympathy to Syria and to the Syrian people for the deaths of innocent people in the conflict there.  He said his country recognized the magnitude of the situation and had abstained from the vote because it believed that the matter had been misdiagnosed, according to the United Nations Charter.  The country’s vote was not an acceptance of the impunity there, including the violations perpetrated.  However, his country adhered to the principle of non-discrimination and was concerned that the principle of non-interference had not been applied in the crisis.  Additionally, the resolution had not recognized the role of external forces in the crisis, and that omission was a major obstacle to achieving a meaningful and peaceful solution.  His country would continue to abide by the African Union’s constitutive act with regard to unconstitutional changes of government.

The representative of China said that despite several amendments to the draft resolution, it had remained largely unchanged.  China urged all parties to the conflict to cease violence.  The imposition of sanctions on one party had not helped to improve the situation.  The only viable approach to resolving the crisis was to seek a just and peaceful solution, as military efforts would only lead to more bloodshed.   China regretted the resignation Kofi Annan.  It had supported his mediation efforts and appreciated the constructive role he had played.  The international community should continue to support the action group and the Annan plan.  The solution to the crisis should be determined by the Syrian people themselves and should be accepted by all Syrians.   China opposed any act aimed at forcing a regime change.  The Security Council had been considering the Syrian crisis and its authority should be upheld.  China believed in the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference.  Its actions were not targeted at any particular issue or at any particular time.  China was ready for concerted effort to uphold the general direction of seeking a peaceful settlement to the Syrian crisis.   China’s vote today had been cast in accordance with the country’s stance.

The representative of Syria said that while he regretted the Assembly’s adoption of the extremely unbalanced and biased resolution, he thanked all countries that had voted against it.  The text promoted chaos.  Syria’s Government and people expected the United Nations to help Syria confront a culture of extremism or terrorism, whether in Israel or sponsored by Al-Qaida or fundamental groups.  The only way to resolve the conflict was through an inclusive national dialogue in line with the six-point plan.  The Syrian Government had committed to cease violence and it had withdrawn heavy weapons since 12 April, in accordance with that plan.  But armed groups had not lived up to their commitments.  On the contrary, they had bolstered their supply of weapons, used their people as human shields, bombed electric power stations, attacked police stations, and burned hospitals and clinics.  Successive meetings of the Council and Assembly aimed to provide political cover for armed groups acting against Syria. 

He said that some parties were trying to destroy the dignity of some parts of the Syrian population and were encouraging them to go to refugee camps with promises that were never kept.  Some of those camps had been converted into military centres, where civilians were trained to fight.  The establishment of a National Reconciliation Ministry was a testament to the Syrian Government’s genuine desire to find a peaceful resolution.  It was strange that the European Union had imposed sanctions on the Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation only a few days after he had assumed office.  Foreign intervention in Syrian affairs had turned Syrian civilians into armed rebels. 

The Saudi Permanent Representative had put forward a totally erroneous picture of what was happening in Syria, he said.  Saudi Arabia and Qatar were sponsoring terrorist armed groups in Syria.  The Saudi army carried out brutal armed practices against the Saudi people.  Two Arab States had not supported the resolution, falsifying the claim that the draft had been submitted on behalf of the Arab Group.  Syria had fully proved its commitment to implement the six-point plan.  Israel, which not had committed to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and had 300 nuclear weapons, should not be speaking about the threat of chemical and other weapons of mass destruction.  International law was on Syria’s side and not on that of the Israeli occupier.  The text served the interest only of the Israeli aggressor.

The representative of Uruguay said he voted in favour of the text because it established important elements to cease violations of human rights and help facilitate a peaceful solution in line with international law.  The text expressed the sentiment of most of the international community.  He reiterated support for the Secretary-General’s efforts, and he regretted the resignation of Mr. Annan.  He supported the work of international organizations in line in with Chapter VIII of the Charter.  It was fundamentally important to achieve a peaceful solution that preserved the rights of the population, in accordance with international law. 

The representative of Argentina expressed grave concern over the situation and regretted that the veto of two countries in the Council had led to its inability to act.  He regretted the violence and violation of human rights committed in Syria.  The Assembly had the responsibility to respect and enforce the principles and aims on which the Organization was built.  For most countries, the United Nations was a necessary institution.  Any stand taken by the Assembly must aim to promote a peaceful, lasting solution to the conflict in Syria.  For that reason, Argentina had voted in favour of the text, which aimed to put an end to the violence as soon as possible and promote respect for human rights.  It appealed to the international community to achieve those objectives, including through implementation of the six-point plan.  He hoped that all States would refrain from action that spurred the violence in Syria.  He recognized the Arab League’s efforts to find a solution, but he did not endorse all of its decisions.  Nothing in the resolution opened the door to the use of armed force by members of the international community. 

The representative of Nigeria expressed regret that the situation in Syria had continued to deepen.  The resignation of the Special Envoy reflected the lack of support by the various parties for his plans to end the crisis.  The United Nations and larger international community had a responsibility and a moral obligation to act appropriately to stem the deterioration.  The resolution provided much needed impetus towards finding a peaceful solution, however, Nigeria, had misgivings about some issues in it, such as the lack of balance and the fact that the text held only one side accountable for human rights violations.

Thus, he said, his country’s support for the resolution did not imply a blanket endorsement of the Arab League’s position, which implicitly called for regime change in Syria.  Those were matters beyond the remit of the General Assembly.  Nigeria also did not believe that the call to welcome the meeting of the Syrian opposition was the role of the General Assembly.  That would undermine the Organization. The Nigerian delegation had voted in support of the resolution because of its commitment to respect human rights and protect civilians in conflict.  It also believed in the importance of regional initiatives in that regard.  In voting, Nigeria had been moved by concern at the escalating violence.  It, therefore, called on the Security Council to live up to its Charter obligations and address constructively and transparently the grave situation.

The representative of Serbia said that his country had voted in favour of the resolution with the understanding that all international involvement in the crisis should be aimed at achieving an end to the violence.

The representative of the Dominican Republic said that his country had supported the resolution even though it was clear during its introduction at recent meetings that it was controversial.  It was not a perfect resolution, but it was capable of accumulating a critical mass.  That was why the Dominican Republic had voted in its favour; its adoption was the difference between keeping one’s arms crossed and trying to do something to show that the Organization was not indifferent to the sufferings of the Syrian people.  His country’s support was also an acknowledgment of the worsening situation on the ground, which could widen.  It hoped that the divergent views among Security Council members could soon be overcome to enable implementation of the six-point plan.  Delaying that action would lead to the inevitable reality that violence would impose its own unstoppable solution.

The representative of India said that since the last meeting of the General Assembly on the situation, it had steadily deteriorated.  The conflict had become increasingly militarized and a number of terrorist acts had been carried out.  More than 2 million Syrians were said to be in need of humanitarian assistance.  India strongly condemned all violence and human rights violations.  It also condemned all terrorist acts and called on all parties to disassociate themselves from terrorist groups and to make no space available to them.  It was time to close ranks and send a united message to the parties on the need for a Syrian-led political process.  That was the only way to end the human rights violations.

He said his country had consistently called for international efforts to assist the parties.  Mr. Annan’s effort had put in place a platform for resolving the crisis.  To assist the parties in changing their course, it was important that all parties fully abide by their obligations under Security Council resolutions.  India believed that it was critical for the United Nations to be firmly involved with the Syrian parties in the search for the way forward.  Unilateral actions of any kind would not help.  In that light, India had abstained from the vote.

The representative of Guyana said a tragedy was unfolding in Syria that should have been avoided.  He condemned all violations of human rights by all.  He was equally concerned by the humanitarian impact on the affected population.  All perpetrators must be held to account.  The Syrian Government must take responsibility to end the violence, protect civilians and fully comply with its obligations under international law.  At the same time, the international community could not turn a blind eye to the harmful acts of opposition groups, but must look at harmful acts committed by all.  The text fell short in that regard.  In the interest of the Syrian people, the United Nations must remain unceasing in its efforts to end the bloodshed on all sides and assist in the search for a viable solution.  The six-point plan remained valid, and he supported the continued efforts of the Secretary-General towards that end.  Given the gravity of the situation, it was imperative that the Council urgently fulfil its Charter responsibilities.  The international community must urgently unite to address the needs of the Syrian people.

IOANNIS VRAILAS (European Union) said that the Union stood by the Syrian people at this critical juncture in their courageous struggle for freedom, dignity, democracy and human rights.  It strongly condemned the ever increasing use of force by the regime, including the use of heavy artillery and shelling from tanks, aircraft and combat helicopters in populated areas in blatant violation of its obligations under the Annan Plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 (2012)and 2043 (2012).  The Union remained deeply concerned about the human rights situation and about breaches of international humanitarian law in Syria.  The systematic and widespread human rights violations committed by the regime demonstrated its outright contempt for human rights.

He also expressed the European Union’s concern about recent reports of the alleged use of cluster munitions against civilians.  It affirmed its support for the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and its investigations into alleged violations of international human rights law, with a view to holding to account those responsible, including for cases that might amount to crimes against humanity.  Stating that the main responsibility for the current crisis lay with the Syrian regime, the Union warned against further militarisation of the conflict and against sectarian violence, which could only bring further suffering to Syrians and risk a tragic impact on the region.

The representative of New Zealand said the Syrian Government had failed to fulfil the six-point plan.  He expressed regret over Mr. Annan’s resignation.  Syrian Government officials had repeatedly said they would honour their commitments under the plan, and he was waiting for the Syrian Government and all sides to do so.  Instead, that Government had grown more scornful and it had a military advantage over the rebels.  The Council had been blocked from acting with firm resolve, leaving other countries wondering what else could be done.  He expressed hope that the Assembly would not have to reconvene in two months over the same concerns.  “We must not fail that test,” he said.  He applauded regional efforts to resolve the crisis, including the draft sponsored by some Arab States.  In the absence of action under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Assembly had a role to play, and this resolution was the next best option, as it built on the loud and now constant demands of the international community to end the violence in Syria.

He said he was appalled by the Syrian Government’s threat to use chemical weapons.  He reminded all parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians in armed conflict.  Those responsible for crimes against humanity could not be part of Syria’s future, and he was committed to the fight against impunity for such violations.  He called on all to cooperate with the independent international commission of inquiry.  It was important to always be mindful of the suffering of internally displaced persons and refugees and the enormous burden their plight imposed on surrounding countries.  A civil war in Syria would gravely endanger neighbouring countries.  One man and the clique that surrounded him had lost all touch with reality.

The representative of Canada deplored the ongoing situation and was disappointed by the Council’s inability to act together.  He fully supported the Arab Group-sponsored resolution and he was pleased by its prompt passage.  He also supported calls for sanctions.  He called on all those that had sheltered the Assad regime to cease their efforts immediately and to join the international efforts for Mr. Assad’s departure and for bringing the conflict to an end.  He regretted Mr. Annan’s resignation and called on all parties to end violence and respect the basic rights of all Syrians.

The representative of Germany also regretted Mr. Annan’s resignation, as it felt his decision came at a critical juncture.  He shared the frustration over the intransigence of the Syrian Government and had fully endorsed today’s resolution.  It came at a time when the Council, with its three double vetoes, had been unable to live up to its responsibility.  The text sent two clear messages:  a message of support to the Syrian people; and a message to the regime that the international community would not accept the war Mr. Assad waged against his own population.  He made an earnest call on all relevant forces in Syria not to use chemical weapons or to transfer them to others. 

He also expressed concern over human rights abuses in Syria, especially against women and children.  All humanitarian actors must be given access to affected people.  He thanked the Governments of Iraq, Lebanon and others in the region for opening their doors to Syrian refugees.  For that reason, Germany had increased its humanitarian aid for the Syrian population to 11.5 million euros.  It was of utmost importance that the opposition follow through with the decisions made at the Cairo meeting.  One day there would be a new Syria.  Together with the Syrian people, it was necessary to work for a democratic Syria with religious freedom and respect for the rights of minorities.

The representative of Libya said the Assembly’s resolution could repair the damage to the United Nations caused by the Council’s inability to act.  Despite the fact that the resolution did not rise to the level of measures adopted by the Arab League, it did have widespread support and it sent a clear message to the Syrian regime that it could not continue indefinitely in defiance of the international community.  This was the last opportunity for the Syrian regime to recover its sanity.  Ordinary people were demanding their legitimate rights.  The international community could not coexist within a context of indiscriminate destruction.  No one could accept more flagrant violations of human rights. 

History showed that tyrants also believed they were the most powerful and they continued their aggression until they were ultimately crushed, he said.  That would be Mr. Assad’s destiny; the Syrian people had no other option.  He saluted the Syrian people for their courage and sense of resolve to achieve victory.  Undoubtedly, they would attain their demands as the Libyan people had attained theirs.  The Assembly must follow up on implementation of its resolution, imposing certain sanctions, referring Syrian perpetrators to criminal courts and suspending the country’s membership in international organizations.

SHEIKH MESHAL HAMAD M.J. AL-THANI (Qatar) said that the crisis in Syria had passed the 500-day mark.  With each day, the Syrian people had sacrificed their blood, lost some of their finest youth, endured degrading treatment and the violation of their honour, suffered scarcity of food and severe shortage of electricity and fuel for cooking, witnessed the deterioration of their economy and the devaluation of their currency and seen their country on the brink of war.  The draft resolution submitted by the Arab Group was a necessary step that could not be further delayed, especially in the light of the escalating violence by the Syrian regime.  That regime had threatened to use weapons of mass destruction and to ignite the region.  The draft resolution could also not be delayed further in the light of the worsening humanitarian situation and the refugee flows to neighbouring countries.

He said the text reflected the positions of the international community, as it called for a peaceful solution to the crisis based on a Syrian-led political transition that met the aspirations of the Syrian people and ensured accountability of those who killed them and violated their rights, freedoms and dignity.  It should lead to the establishment of a pluralistic, democratic, civil State with equal rights and freedoms, in a way that preserved Syria’s national and territorial unity, sovereignty and stability.  The process should also be in line with United Nations principles.

It was ironic that the Syrian representative continued to devote his statements to haphazard accusations against other countries and to unrealistic justifications of what was happening in Syria, he added.  That was but a desperate attempt to distract attention from the reality of what was happening and to put the blame on others for the failure of his Government to achieve the legitimate demands of its people and provide protection to them.  That was not surprising as it came from a representative of the Syrian regime, he said.

The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, thanked all States that voted in favour of the resolution and said that it sent a strong message to the people of Syria that their struggle was not far from the eyes of the countries and that the international community was with them.  The second message was that the policy of using weapons would not bear fruit and that using the people as a minefield would not legitimize the regime.  The third message was to the Security Council and to the forces that undermined the Council’s attempt to address the crisis in Syria that the overwhelming majority of Member States was against the positions those States had taken and would like the Council to be up to the task and to deal with the issue in a serious way.  Another message to a new Joint Special Envoy was that a working framework must be specific.

Rights of Reply

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the representative of Israel had used the Assembly to level baseless allegations against his country.  That regime had been and remained the only destabilizing entity in the Middle East and had embarked on violence and barbaric acts for its narrow-minded political aims.  In the crisis in Syria, Israeli agents were actively engaged in providing weapons and logistics to the terrorist groups attacking civilians.  He accused Israel of State terrorism and assassinations.  The assassination of Iranian scientists was just an example.  A regime that engaged in destruction of houses and killing of women and children was not in a position to talk about others, let alone pass judgement.

The representative of Bahrain said that, in response to the statement by the Syrian representative, the forces deployed in Bahrain were those of the “Peninsula Shield”, belonging to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), established by a treaty in the year 2000 and deployed there to protect the Kingdom against any foreign threat.

The representative of Syria said that it was regrettable that there had been a cascade of mischaracterizations and falsehood in many statements made today.  The European Union’s statement stated, for example, that the Union cared about the welfare of the Syrian people.  He asked how the sanctions imposed by the Union fit within that scope, or impeding access to Syrian’s basic needs as a result of the sanctions.  Similarly, imposing sanctions on the country’s leaders, including newly appointed ones, did not show care for the people’s welfare.

Regarding the statement by the Libyan representative, he said that the representative had no basis on which to speak against Syria.  It was regrettable that he had spoken irresponsibly.  Syria did not call for outside military intervention in Syria and the country could not be followers of others.  As for Qatar, the Syrian representative was surprised at the language he had used, which gave the impression that one was listening to the television channel broadcasting from that country.  He asked the delegate to explain why his country was financing terrorist groups in Syria.  Why was Qatar keen to discourage dialogue and to promote violence in Syria, and why was that country impeding implementation of the six-point plan?  Syria was committed to the Geneva Protocol against the use of asphyxiating poisonous or other gases and would accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention if Israel acceded to it.  It had acceded to the NPT and had always called for a nuclear-weapon-free-zone in the Middle East.  In fact, in 2003, as a member of the Security Council, Syria had submitted a resolution on such a zone.  The countries making statements about weapons in the Middle East should have emphasized the dangers of the Israeli nuclear threat.


Vote on Situation in Syria

The draft resolution on The Situation in Syria (document A/66/L.57) was adopted by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 12 against, with 31 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Zambia.

Against:  Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.

Abstain:  Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Burundi, Ecuador, Eritrea, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam.

Absent:  Cambodia, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kiribati, Malawi, Philippines, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.