NEW YORK: The UN General Assembly has voted in favour of a resolution that condemned the violent crackdown in Syria and urged the Syrian President, Mr Bashar al-Assad to step down. India supported the Arab League-backed resolution, but made it clear that it was opposed to use of force.
The resolution, adopted by a vote of 137 in favour to 12 against with 17 abstentions, Thursday called on Syria "to immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against civilians".
Russia and China voted against the resolution. The two countries had vetoed the Arab League-backed resolution in the UN Security Council over a fortnight ago.
The vote, though non-binding in nature, is seen as a strong rebuke to President Bashar al-Assad's continued and bloody crackdown on protesters during the pro-democracy uprising that began in March last year.
Explaining India's vote on the UNGA resolution, the India's Permanent Representative, Mr Hardeep Singh Puri underlined that while India condemned violence, it opposed any use of force by a third country and advocated a Syrian-led political reconciliation. "We think that prolonged instability and unrest in Syria have serious implications for peace and stability in the wider region. We strongly condemn all violence, irrespective of whoever the perpetrators are. We also condemn all violations of human rights," said Mr Puri.
"Our support for the resolution adopted by this assembly today is in accordance with our support for the efforts by the Arab League for a peaceful resolution of the crisis through a Syrian-led inclusive political process," Mr Puri added.
"My delegation notes that the resolution just adopted expressly reaffirms that all countries should refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state or act in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations," he said.
Mr Puri underlined the need for an inclusive Syrian-led democratic transition. "We believe that the leadership of Syria is a matter for the Syrian people to decide. We call on all opposition forces in Syria to peacefully engage in constructive dialogue with the authorities."
He called on all opposition forces in Syria to peacefully engage in constructive dialogue with the authorities. Mr Puri stressed that India has noted the decision of the Syrian leaderhsip to hold a referendum on a new draft constitution Feb 26 and organise multi-party elections within next three months.