India, 30 others abstain from voting on Syria resolution



India, 30 others abstain from voting on Syria resolution United Nations: India has abstained along with 30 other countries from voting in the UN General Assembly on a Saudi-drafted resolution on Syria that denounced the escalating violence in the country and referred to calls for President Bashar Al Assad to step down.

The draft UN General Assembly resolution, which expressed "grave concern" at the escalating violence in Syria, got 133 votes in favour in the 193-member body yesterday.

India abstained from voting after the Saudi-drafted text referred to calls for President Bashar Al Assad to step down and asked UN states to severe diplomatic relations with the troubled nation.

In his explanation of vote on the resolution, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri said the resolution makes specific reference to the July 22 resolution of the League of Arab States which "openly called for President Assad to step down from power and for other UN members to severe diplomatic relations and contacts with Syria."

He said while India does not hold any brief for any particular Syrian leader, it could not welcome the League's resolution.

"It is unfortunate that this element of the present resolution was not removed, and hence we have abstained from the resolution," Puri said.

The resolution, which is not legally binding and is of a moral nature, also demanded that the country lockdown its chemical and biological weapons.

The resolution also deplored "the failure of the Security Council to agree on measures to ensure the compliance of Syrian authorities with its decisions".

New Delhi feels that the issue was marked by great polarisation at the UN. India wants the world body's engagement in a big way to resolve the crisis.

PTI