UN rights body condemns Syria at heated debate

May 29, 2013 22:20

GENEVA - The United Nations urged Syria on Wednesday to cease heavy weapons attacks on civilians in the rebel-held town of Qusair, in a heated debate that underlined deep divisions among powers even as they seek to convene peace talks in the coming weeks.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution brought by Qatar, Turkey and the United States, but Damascus and allies Russia and Iran warned that the condemnation could undermine peace efforts to resolve the two-year conflict.The 47-member Geneva forum voted 36 states in favor, one (Venezuela) against and eight abstentions. Two delegations were absent from the talks while both China and Russia have only observer status.

"This draft resolution can only help prevent preparations for this second (peace) conference," Syria's first secretary Tamim Madani said in a speech ahead of the vote, referring to proposed, but as yet unscheduled, talks set for Geneva.

"Major sponsors of the resolution, of the conference, are suffering from a kind of schizophrenia."

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