News / Middle East

UN Calls on Syrian President to Step Down

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (file photo)
Larry Freund

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning human rights violations by the Syrian government and calling on the government to end the violence.

The resolution approved by the General Assembly is similar to a resolution vetoed in the Security Council on February 4 by two of its permanent members -- Russia and China.  While those countries again voted no, there are no vetoes in the General Assembly and the resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority -- 137 in favor, 12 against, 17 abstaining and 3 with no recorded vote.  General Assembly resolutions are not binding on U.N. members.

The resolution on Syria was introduced in the General Assembly by Egypt, on behalf of the Arab group of nations.

Osama Abdelkhalek, the Egyptian deputy ambassador, speaking through a translator, expressed what he called an absolute rejection of the use of violence against civilians by the Syrian government.

"We demand that the Syrian government heed the demands of the Arab Syrian people and satisfy these demands as well as staunch the bloodshed.  Ending the suffering of the brotherly Syrian people is at the head of the priorities of the current agenda of the League of Arab states,” Abdelkhalek said.

Syria objected strongly to the General Assembly resolution.  Its ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, argued that the resolution’s sponsors were leading a political and media aggression against Syria.  He spoke through a translator.

“Here, from this rostrum, we call on them to stop interfering in the internal Syrian affairs and to stop adding fuel to the fire of violence and sectarian strife in Syria,” Ja’afari said.

Following the adoption of the resolution, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said in a written statement that the General Assembly had sent a clear message to the people of Syria.  "The world is with you," she said.  "A rapid transition to democracy in Syria," she added, "has garnered the resounding support of the international community."

"Change," Rice said, "must now come."

Speaking with reporters after the vote, Egyptian representative Abdelkhalek said the Arab group will try to make sure the U.N. Security Council remains focused on the Syrian issue.

"We believe that the Syrian people deserve an opportunity to have peace and to restore stability.  And that entails having an observer mission, verification mechanism, a peacekeeping force.  All those ideas will be on the ground in the days to come,” Abdelkhalek said.

The General Assembly resolution does not refer to the Arab League’s call for a peacekeeping force for Syria.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid