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UN resolution: end US embargo of Cuba

By HONG XIAO at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-11-08 23:14
Tourists in a vintage car pass by the US Embassy in Havana, Cuba, Nov 7, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on Thursday calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba

There were 187 UN member states voting in favor of the resolution, while Brazil and Israel joined the US in vetoing it. Colombia and Ukraine abstained. The same resolution has been adopted for 28 years in a row.

The vote was preceded by presentations and group debates, which began on Tuesday.

Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it regretted that the US has strengthened the embargo.

Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said that from April 2018 to March this year, the impact of the US embargo on Cuba's foreign trade amounted to more than $4 billion.

"Limited foreign investment and difficult access to development credits translate directly into economic hardship and humanitarian impacts for the people of Cuba. The country's socioeconomic reforms have also been hampered by the embargo."

Ambassador Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, on Wednesday said that China, which voted in favor of the draft resolution submitted by Cuba, allies itself with the statement made by Palestine.

Zhang said that for 27 consecutive years, the UN General Assembly had adopted by overwhelming majority a resolution titled "Necessity of Ending the Economic Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the USA Against Cuba", calling "all countries to abide by the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law, and repeal or invalidate the law's measures with extraterritorial facts, which affect the sovereignty of other states, the legitimate interests of entities and persons and the jurisdiction and freedom of trade and navigation".

"Regrettably, however, those resolutions have for many years not been effectively implemented, and the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba has not ended to this date," Zhang said.

According to UN News, the embargo, which dates to 1960, after Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries seized power in 1959.

Tensions only eased more than a half-century later when the Obama administration established diplomatic relations with Cuba, modifying several aspects of the embargo, such as lifting some travel restrictions.

As the resolution states, these policies "contrast" with measures implemented by US President Donald Trump in 2017, UN News wrote.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla reported that in recent months, Washington has begun to "escalate aggression", including by preventing international fuel shipments to the island, scaling down consular services, and attacking national programs that support other developing countries.

"The blockade has caused incalculable humanitarian damages. It is a flagrant, massive and systematic violation of human rights," he said.

"This is contrary to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, inflicting enormous economic and financial losses on the Cuban people and disrupting the normal economic, commercial and financial ties between other countries and Cuba," Zhang said.

"The embargo has also hampered the efforts of the Cuban people to eradicate poverty and achieve other sustainable development goals, undermining the Cuban people's rights to life and development," he added.

Zhang reiterated that China "consistently advocates for respecting the right of countries to independently choose their own social systems and development path, safeguarding the international order based on international law, defending international fairness and justice".

He noted that China is against imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries by military, political, economic or other means. China has always strictly abided by and implemented the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

Zhang said that China and Cuba have maintained economic trade and personal exchanges "and our friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields continues to move ahead".

He said that is in line with the aspirations of the people of China and Cuba, and it's conducive to Cuba's economic and social development.

Zhang said that China hopes that the US and Cuba would "continue to advance the normalization of their relations and that the US will completely abolish the embargo policy against Cuba as soon as possible. Both parties should move with the historical trend of our times to developing normal interstate relations in accordance with the purpose of the UN Charter and basic norms of international relations."

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