UN to Syria President: Time to Go
Russia, China vote against General Assembly resolution
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 16, 2012 4:25 PM CST
In this photo taken on a government-organized tour for the media, Syrian citizens pass by a Syrian government army tank in a suburb of Damascus.   (AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The UN General Assembly has voted to support an Arab League call for Syria's Bashar al-Assad to quit as president. The assembly voted 137-12 for the resolution, which isn't legally binding but is a barometer of international opinion, the AP notes. Seventeen countries abstained from voting, while Russia and China voted against the plan. A Russian official called it "unbalanced," saying it "directs all the demands at the government, and says nothing about the opposition."

US ambassador Susan Rice disagreed: "Today, the UN General Assembly sent a clear message of the people of Syria: The world is with you," she said, adding that Assad "has never been more isolated." As violence continues in the country, Assad plans to go forward with a referendum on a new constitution that opponents see as a ploy for more time.