Russia Says U.N. Rights Council Vote on Syria 'Unacceptable'

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Russia on Friday lambasted the U.N. Human Rights Council's findings of "gross violations" by Syria as "unacceptable" and warned against using them as a pretext for military action.

"The positions (adopted) in the document, which include the veiled hint of the possibility of foreign military intervention under the pretext of defending the Syrian people, are unacceptable to the Russian side," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Rights council members in Geneva passed a resolution "strongly condemning the continued widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Syrian authorities."

Thirty-seven voted in favor of the resolution, six abstained while four countries -- including Russia as well as Cuba, Ecuador and China -- voted against.

"Unfortunately, the draft resolution ... presented by Western countries has a politicized and partial character," the Russian ministry said.

"It does not show the latest steps taken by the Syrian authorities to stabilize the situation, carry out reforms ... and launch national dialogue."

Allied with Syria since the Soviet era, Moscow is its main arms supplier and stubbornly refuses to join the chorus of condemnation of the crackdown in Syria, where more than 4,000 people have been killed since mid-March according to the United Nations.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for a halt to "ultimatums" against Syria and a "move toward political dialogue," two days after the Arab League hit Damascus with crippling economic sanctions.

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