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U.S. Refuses U.N. Call to End Cuba Embargo

Thursday, 29 October 2009 10:10 AM

The Obama administration on Wednesday defended the long-running U.S. economic embargo against Cuba in the face of another overwhelming U.N. General Assembly vote condemning American policy toward the island nation.

But administration officials also stressed efforts to reach out to the Cuba's communist government.

The Obama administration says it has broken with its predecessors in opening dialogue with Cuba on several fronts. But it also says it does not intend to reward Havana by lifting sanctions until it improves human rights conditions.

This is the 18th consecutive year that the assembly has gone on record against U.S. Cuba policy. The number of countries supporting the United States on the matter has dwindled over the years.

Wednesday's resolution was 187 votes in favor, three against and two abstentions. Only Israel and the Pacific island state of Palau sided with the United States. Two other Pacific states, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, abstained.

Addressing the assembly, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called the embargo an "act of arrogance" and said it has cost the Cuban economy tens-of-billions of dollars over the years and deprived children of needed medical care.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said it is wrong to blame U.S. sanctions for deprivation in Cuba. While calling the Cuban statement hostile and reminiscent of the Cold War, Susan Rice said the Obama administration is committed to trying to write a new chapter in relations with Cuba by engaging the Havana government.

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Thursday, 29 October 2009 10:10 AM
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