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India abstains from voting on Syria resolution

Last Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 08:24

New York: India abstained from voting on the Arab-backed, US supported resolution on Syria in the UN General Assembly, which called for a political transition.

India was joined by 58 other countries who abstained in General Assembly voting on the non-binding resolution, which was passed by 107 votes yesterday.

Twelve countries, including Russia voted against it.

In August 2012, a similar resolution had received 133 votes.

Pakistan voted in favour of the resolution, in a significant change from its previous position.

Explaining on India`s decision to abstain on the resolution, Indian Ambassador to the UN, Asoke Kumar Mukerji, cautioned the members of the General Assembly that unilateral action of any kind will not resolve the crisis.

"It will only exacerbate the problem and cause greater instability and violence even beyond Syria`s borders," he said.

"Whether a group, any group, is the legitimate representative of the Syrian people or not can only be determined by the Syrian people, not this Assembly," Mukerji stressed.

"Therefore certain provisions of this resolution can be interpreted as effecting regime change by sleight of hand. This is a dangerous precedent which we cannot acquiesce in.”

"We would once again reiterate our position that the leadership of Syria is a matter for Syrians to decide themselves," said the Indian Ambassador.

In his remarks, Mukerji said at the Joint Communiqué of the Geneva Action Group adopted in June 2012 provides a good basis for resolution of the Syrian crisis through a Syrian led political process that respects Syria`s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty, involves all sections of Syrian society ad meet their legitimate aspirations.

"Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, India has consistently called on all parties to abjure violence, dissociate themselves from terrorist groups, and pursue a peaceful and inclusive political process to address the grievances of all sections of Syrian society.”

"We have also contributed to mitigate the humanitarian impact of the crisis by providing assistance worth USD 2.5 million," he said. The UN General Assembly resolution strongly condemns the Syrian Government`s increased use of heavy weapons, and also condemns ongoing "widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms".

Supported by 107 countries, the resolution called for rapid progress on a political transition, "which represents the best opportunity to resolve the situation peacefully”.


First Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 08:24
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