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India along with 35 other nations abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Syria and urgent aid deliveries in the war ravaged country. The Canada-led resolution, which expressed ‘outrage’ at the escalation of violence in Syria, particularly war-battered Aleppo, was adopted by a vote of 122 in favour, 13 against and 36 abstentions on Friday.
Indian diplomatic sources told PTI that India abstained from voting on the resolution in line with its traditional approach that it does not mix humanitarian issues with political issues.
The sources said the resolution had several elements mixed up — the humanitarian elements mixed with a large amount of political elements, which are ‘contentious’.
“The resolution had elements addressing the humanitarian situation mixed with political viewpoints of the sponsors which made for an uncomfortable cocktail. Consequently we abstained in line with our approach that is for a delineation of humanitarian issues from the politics of a situation,” the sources said.
The 193-member Assembly adopted the resolution demanding an immediate and complete end to all attacks on civilians as well as an end to all sieges in war-ravaged country.
The Assembly also expressed grave concern at the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in the country and demanded “rapid, safe, sustained, unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access throughout the country for UN…and all humanitarian actors.”
Action in the Assembly comes just days after the UN Security Council failed to adopt a similar resolution demanding a ceasefire in Aleppo, as two of its permanent members, China and Russia, cast their vetoes.
China, Russia, Iran and Syria voted against the General Assembly resolution, while Bangladesh, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan and Nepal abstained.
American Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said while the resolution is far from perfect, it is a vote to “stand up to tell Russia and (Syrian President Bashar) Assad to stop the carnage.”
“This is a vote to defend the bedrock principles of how states should act, even in war. This is a vote to demand food, medicine, and safety urgently for a population in eastern Aleppo who have none,” she said.
Power said Russia and the Assad regime have displaced at least 32,000 people in the last two weeks alone and their campaign of airstrikes have struck every single hospital in eastern Aleppo.
“The people left in eastern Aleppo do not know where to go. Some get shot in the street as they try to flee, others stay in their basements hoping Russia and Assad’s aircraft refrain from dropping a bomb over their heads this time. Still others make it across the front line, only to have Assad’s intelligence agencies forcibly disappear them,” she said.