US abstains for first time in annual UN vote on ending embargo against Cuba

Wide view of the General Assembly meeting to consider the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

26 October 2016 – In a near unanimous action, the United Nations General Assembly today adopted a resolution underlining the need to end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba, while also welcoming progress in the relations between the two countries.

But, for the first time in the 25 year history of the annual vote, the United States, rather than opposing the text, cast an abstention, along with Israel. This year, 191 of the Assembly’s 193 Members voted in favour of the text which welcomed the progress in the relations between the two countries as well as the visit of US President, Barack Obama to Cuba in March 2016.

Noting of the steps taken by the US Administration towards modifying some aspects of the implementation of the embargo, the Assembly deemed such steps “positive, [but] still limited in scope.”

The Assembly further reiterated its call to all UN Member States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures not conforming with their obligations under the UN Charter and international law, which reaffirm freedom of trade and navigation.

The Assembly “once again urges States that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible,” the resolution added.


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