MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) – The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday approved a resolution on Syria calling for an end to the violence through political transition and condemning the Syrian government’s increased use of heavy weapons, in a vote backed by the United States but rejected by Russia as biased.
Russia slammed the resolution as unbalanced in favor of the rebels and said it was “irresponsible” to support it.
The non-binding resolution was approved by the General Assembly with a vote of 107-12, with 59 abstentions. A similar UN resolution was passed last August by a vote of 133-12, with 31 abstentions.
Some analysts see the reduced support for the resolution as a sign of growing concern over Syria’s splintered rebel groups.
The two-year old civil war in Syria has killed at least 80,000 people, according to the latest UN figures.
The resolution approved Wednesday was drafted by Qatar and had strong backing among Arab nations and the United States.
China, however, also opposed the resolution, and Russia lobbied against it and condemned the text before it was approved.
“It is particularly irresponsible and counterproductive” to support the resolution as Russia and the United State have agreed to convene an international conference on Syria and when international consolidation is needed, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Alexander Pankin, said ahead of the vote.
UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, unlike Security Council resolutions. Syria’s allies, Russia and China, have vetoed three Western-backed Security Council resolutions designed to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad to end the use of force.
Russia and China have faced widespread condemnation over their refusal to approve UN sanctions against Assad’s regime.
Moscow has repeatedly stated it has no interest in seeing Assad remain in power, but is concerned that unilateral sanctions might create a power vacuum that would lead to more violence.