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US votes against ending Cuban embargo at UN despite diplomatic thaw
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 27 - 10 - 2015

The United States on Tuesday voted for the 24th time against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the end of the embargo against Cuba despite the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year, dpa reported.
The resolution, which was adopted for the 24th year in a row and received overwhelming support from 191 of the 193 UN member states, was opposed only by the US and its ally Israel, following the pattern of previous years.
The annual vote came after the historic reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba in July after 50 years, which led to speculation that the US might for the first time abstain during the annual UN vote.
However, the US voted against the resolution saying that the text did not reflect "the significant steps that have been taken and the spirit of engagement."
"If Cuba thinks this exercise will help move things forward in the direction both governments have indicated they wish, it is mistaken," US representative Ronald Godard told the assembly.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla introduced the draft resolution, saying the text took note of the recent developments and welcomed the new course of US-Cuba relations.
The resolution text says it recognized "the expressed will of the President of the United States of America to work for the elimination of the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba."
"The US government has announced a new policy towards our country,"Parilla said.
"But the measures adopted by the US administration ... while they are positive, only modify in a very limited way certain elements related to the implementation of the blockade."
Ali Khoshroo, Iranian ambassador to the UN, who spoke before the vote on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, a group of 120 states that do not favour any political power bloc, condemned the US for the embargo saying it contradicted international law and the UN Charter.
"The continuation of the embargo is totally unjustifiable and runs counter to Cuba's efforts to achieve sustainable development," Khoshroo said.
Several countries speaking at the plenary meeting condemned the US for placing Cuba on its List of State Sponsors of International Terrorism in the first place and praised Cuba for its resilience and
economic achievements in face of the sanctions.
Cuba also received praise for sending medical teams to West Africa during the recent Ebola crisis.
However, several speakers noted that the continued embargo might prevent Cuba from meeting a set of development goals adopted by world leaders the UN in September and to be met by 2030.
The Sustainable Development Goals agenda is an ambitious effort to end extreme poverty and discrimination, close social inequality gaps and ensure development that safeguards the environment.
Last year, 188 of the 193 UN member states voted in favour of the resolution to end the Cuba embargo. While Israel and the US voted against it, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau abstained.

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