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UNGA draft resolution on Syria: India raises objections

August 03, 2012 13:29 IST

A Saudi Arabia-drafted resolution on Syria, which is set to be voted upon in the United Nations General Assembly, has dropped its demand for President Bashar Al Assad to step down and sanctions be imposed against the country after some member States, including India, objected to the provisions.

The draft resolution had demanded regime change and that the Syrian army stop its shelling and helicopter attacks, and withdraw to its barracks.

While the resolution, if passed by the 193-member General Assembly on Friday, will not be legally binding, it will be moral and symbolic in nature.

Voting on the resolution will be through simple majority and there is no veto.

The resolution has been drafted by Saudi Arabia, which was "frustrated" by the fact that the UN Security Council has not been able to act on Syria.

It had made particular demands for regime change, sanctions against Syria and that Assad step down.

A senior member of the Indian delegation here told PTI its officials "worked over time" to get these demands dropped from the resolution.

Others countries like Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa too were not in support of the provisions demanding regime change and sanctions.

The Indian Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri had several rounds of discussions with his Saudi and Qatari counterparts.

After some heavylifting, India was able to get the provisions for sanctions and regime change dropped from the resolution, the official added.

The revised draft no longer asks other nations to place sanctions on Syria.

It still demands that the Syrian army stop its shelling and helicopter attacks and withdraw to its barracks.

It also backs Kofi Annan's "demand that the first step in the cessation of violence has to be made by the Syrian authorities."

Referring to Syria's announcement that it could use chemical weapons on any invaders, the draft resolution "demands that the Syrian authorities refrain from using, or transferring to non-State actors, any chemical and biological weapons, or any related material."

The crisis in Syria has worsened over the last 17 months, when the uprising against Assad's regime began.

The UN estimates that about 10,000 people have been killed in the violence and thousands others displaced.

The UN Security Council has remained divided over the action needed to stop the violence in Syria with Russia and China vetoing three resolutions.

The UN General Assembly resolution will come a day after UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's announcement that he was resigning from his post as the international envoy for Syria after efforts by him to broker peace and bring an end to violence met no success.

Yoshita Singh United Nations
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