UN votes to end Cuban embargo, US abstains

United Nations, Oct 27 (IANS) The UN General Assembly voted to adopt a resolution urging an end to the US embargo on Cuba and the United States abstained for the first time in 25 years.

On Wednesday, 191 UN member states voted in favour of the resolution, while US and Israel abstained, Xinhua news agency reported.

This is the 25th time that the UN General Assembly has adopted the resolution.

The resolution welcomed the progress in relations between the two countries and the visit of the US President Barack Obama to Cuba in March 2016.

Noting that the steps taken by US towards modifying some aspects of the embargo are still limited in scope, the General Assembly once again urged the repeal of the blockade measures as soon as possible.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla told the General Assembly that blockade imposed by US against Cuba persists, impairing the country’s economic development.

“Lifting the blockade is the key to be able to advance towards the normalisation of relations with the United States,” he said .

While ahead of the vote, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said that the US abstention is due to Obama’s new approach to Cuba.

Full diplomatic ties were restored between US and Cuba as an agreement to resume normal relations took effect on July 20, 2015. However, the United States has not repealed the embargo yet.

Washington decreed the blockade against Havana officially on February 3, 1962, following the intensification of the political differences between US and the government led by Fidel Castro.