French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has welcomed a UN General Assembly resolution on Syria, saying it offered "unequivocal support" for those enduring the regime's crackdown on dissent.
In a statement following the Assembly's vote calling for an immediate halt to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's violent crackdown, Juppe expressed the hope that work will now begin so that "the resolution is fully applied."
The UN General Assembly voted 137 to 12 to approve the resolution, with China, Russia and Iran among the nations that opposed the text, which condemned "widespread and systematic violations of human rights" in Syria.
"This is a new step towards ending the martyrdom of the Syrian people," Juppe said in his statement.
It offers "massive and unequivocal support for the Syrian people," he said.
Seventeen UN member states abstained from voting on the resolution, which came just days after Russia and China joined forces to use their veto power to derail a similar text in the UN Security Council.
Egyptian ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said there had been an "unacceptable escalation" of violence in Syria. "We demand that the Syrian government heed the demands of the Arab and Syrian people and staunch the bloodshed," he added.
But Syria's ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, declared just before the vote that the resolution amounted to unwarranted intervention in his country's internal affairs.
"Some of the co-sponsors would like to settle accounts with Syria," he told the General Assembly, alleging that the resolution was motivated by the wider and long-running Middle East conflict.
To adopt the resolution, 10 days before a referendum on a new constitution for "a modern democratic Syrian state," he said, "will only lead to a tightening of the crisis and more tension in the region."
The United Nations, Jaafari added, was in danger of being used by "some member states" as a way to provide cover for "armed terrorist groups."
Russia's representative said his nation voted against the resolution as it did not incorporate amendments that it had proposed. His Chinese colleague said the resolution amounted to undue interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.