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Russia, China Say UN Resolution Undermines Peace Efforts

A man inspects a destroyed Syrian Army tank in Azaz, some 47 kilometers north of Aleppo.
Russia and China say a resolution on Syria passed by the United Nations General Assembly undermines peace efforts in the country.

The resolution condemns the Syrian government's use of "heavy weapons" and its failure to withdraw forces from civilian areas.

It also deplores "the failure of the Security Council to agree on measures to ensure the compliance of Syrian authorities with its decisions."

Drafted by Saudi Arabia, it was passed on August 3 by 133 votes to 12 with 31 abstentions.

Russia, China, Belarus, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela were among the states that voted against the text, which was debated after the resignation of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and the failure of his six-point peace plan.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the resolution was one-sided and gave "blatant support for the armed opposition."

"[The] resolution is harmful since it contradicts the efforts to help implement the Annan plan and the Geneva agreements of the group of actions," he said. "It undermines the chances for launching a Syrian process for a political settlement."

China's deputy UN envoy Wang Min suggested that pressuring only the Syrian government will "cause further escalation of the turmoil and let the crisis spill over to other countries in the region."

"Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity should be respected," he said. "Syria's future and destiny should be determined by the Syrian people themselves.

"The political settlement to the Syrian issue can only be led by the Syrian people and should be accepted by all relevant parties in Syria. To impose a solution from the outside would not help diffuse the Syrian crisis. China opposes any act of forcing a regime change. Sanctions will lead to nothing but a more complicated situation."

Russia and China have blocked several attempts in the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Damascus.

Fresh Assault In Syrian Capital

Syria's UN envoy Bashar Jaafari suggested Saudi Arabia and fellow resolution sponsor Qatar were trying to act as both "a fireman and an arsonist at the same time."

Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi called the success of the vote a "victory" and was "a reflection of the will of the international community to respond with one voice.

"We have seen the result that demonstrates the broad consensus within the international community, a consensus that does not support the paralysis of the Security Council," he added.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius hailed the resolution, saying it "reaffirms the international community's will to find a credible exit from the crisis in Syria."

In Syria, government forces backed by tanks launched a new assault in the capital, Damascus on August 4 while shelling also continued in Aleppo, the country's largest city.

The UN estimates that 19,000 people have died in 17 months of unrest.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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