ASSEMBLY RENEWS CALL FOR END TO UNITED STATES EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

27 November 2001
GA/9979

ASSEMBLY RENEWS CALL FOR END TO UNITED STATES EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

27/11/2001
Press ReleaseGA/9979

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

64th Meeting (AM)

ASSEMBLY RENEWS CALL FOR END TO UNITED STATES EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA

In Tenth Successive Year, Resolution Is Adopted Asking All

Nations to Refrain from Similar Measures; Text Receives 167 Votes

The General Assembly this morning adopted a resolution on the need to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.  It was the tenth such resolution the Assembly had passed in as many years.

The resolution was adopted in a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 3 abstaining (Latvia, Micronesia, Nicaragua).  (See Annex for details of the vote.)

[The Assembly adopted a comparable resolution last year by 167 votes in favour, to 3 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, United States) with 4 abstentions (El Salvador, Latvia, Morocco and Nicaragua)]

By the terms of today’s resolution, the Assembly called on all States to refrain from applying laws and measures of a type similar to the Helms-Burton Act which, it was said, affected the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction, and the freedom of trade and navigation.  The Assembly urged States continuing to apply such laws and measures to repeal them as soon as possible.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba said the blockade against his country was illegal, violated the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions, and deprived the Cuban people of access to food and medicine. Introducing the draft resolution, he said the embargo did not enjoy majority support in the United States and was rejected by the international community.

He noted that the United States Government had expressed deep concern for the Cuban people after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Michelle, and declared that it was willing to assist.  Cuba requested that its State-run companies be allowed to buy food, medicines and other material from the United States, but arrangements could not be made.  How could such an airtight system have been created to prevent an entire people from acquiring essential foodstuffs and medicines?  he asked.

In explaining his opposition to the draft resolution, the representative of the United States said its trade embargo against Cuba was a matter of bilateral trade policy, and not an issue the Assembly should consider.  The United States chose not to trade with the Cuban Government because of its repressive policies. His country’s goal was to foster Cuba’s transition to democratic government, to

foster human rights there and provide for the economic prosperity the Cuban Government’s retrograde economic policies were denying its people.

He said the Cuban Government was “an anachronism in the democratic Western Hemisphere, a throwback to a crueller and less free time”.  The draft resolution distracted the attention of the international community and was used by that Government to justify its continued oppressive policies.

The representative of Libya noted that successive United States administrations had not reversed their approach toward Cuba, despite its rejection by numerous partners and organizations.  The United States had even enacted a series of coercive laws against third party countries.

China’s representative said the embargo imposed by the United States had greatly hampered the Cuban people in their efforts to achieve economic and social development, seriously undermining Cuba’s efforts to eliminate poverty and improve the living standards of its people.

The representative of Belgium, speaking for the European Union, said members of the Union, while supporting the draft resolution, remained concerned about the human rights situation in Cuba and wanted to see improvement, but it should not be brought about by coercive measures.

Also addressing the Assembly this morning were representatives of Malaysia, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Syria, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Venezuela, Myanmar, Zambia, Iraq, Antigua and Barbuda (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Viet Nam, Belarus and Namibia.

Also speaking in explanation of vote were the representatives of Norway, Uruguay, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.

      Announcements

The Assembly was informed that Seychelles had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.  [Article 19 stipulates that any Member State in arrears of its contribution for the preceding two full years shall have no vote in the Assembly.]

The Assembly meets again at 3.00 p.m. today to conclude its consideration of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, and to begin consideration of its agenda item, “Oceans and the law of the sea”.

Background

The General Assembly met this morning to consider its agenda item on the “necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba”.

[In October 1960, the United States imposed a partial embargo, which became a total embargo 16 months later, in February 1962, when it was expanded to include everything but non-subsidized sales of food and medicines.  In March of that year the United States further extended the embargo to include imports of all goods made from Cuban materials, or containing them, regardless of where they were manufactured.  The Helms-Burton Act of 1996 allows suits to be filed in United States courts against any corporation from any part of the world that is doing business with Cuba.]

The General Assembly had before it a report of the Secretary-General(document A/56/276) containing replies from 65 Member States and four agencies of the United Nations on implementation of the Assembly's resolution 55/20 of         9 November 2000 calling for an end to the embargo .

The response of Cuba, contained in the report, describes the embargo as       “a cruel and relentless economic war, one of the most inhuman State policies ever inflicted against a people”.  The so-called “easing” of the embargo during the Clinton Administration in the United States had simply resulted in new restrictions and an intensifying of the economic war.  The policy was taking a heavy toll on the material, psychological and spiritual well-being of the Cuban people, hindering economic and social development and forcing successive generations of Cubans to live in a climate of permanent hostility and tension.

An addendum to the report of the Secretary-General (document A/56/276/Add.1)  contains the responses of 10 more Member States and seven more organs and agencies of the United Nations system.

Also before the Assembly was a draft resolution (document A/56.L.9), sponsored by Cuba, by which the Assembly would reiterate its call on all States to refrain from applying laws and measures of the kind under review, and to conform with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and international law which, among other things, reaffirmed the freedom of trade and navigation. 

The Assembly would urge States that continued to apply such laws and measures to take the necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible in accordance with their legal regime.  The Secretary-General would be requested to prepare a report on the implementation of the present resolution in the light of the principles of the Charter and submit it to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.

Statements

HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said the issue was important not only to Cuba but to other States.  Member States had overwhelmingly rejected unilateral measures but one insisted on it for political reasons.  The majority of States were in favour of the draft resolution calling for an immediate end to the embargo against Cuba since the embargo virtually amounted to a domestic law that infringed on the rights of another sovereign nation.  The continuation of the embargo against Cuba was of concern because it represented the pressuring of political will, and as such undermined the principle of State sovereignty.  In addition, the blockade was not only against the law but it infringed on the people’s basic rights to life, development and well-being.

He said that as a staunch advocate of free trade and relations between nations based on respect for international law, the United States would do well to rethink its position on its small neighbour.  For the purpose of upholding principles such as that of non-interference in the affairs of States, and that of ensuring freedom for trade and navigation, there should be a complete, early removal of the embargo.

HADI NEJAD HOSSEINIAN (Iran) said that the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against Cuba contravened all laws and principles governing international relations, the provision of the United Nations Charter and laws governing international trade and related conventions.  More than ever before, the international community had come to the understanding that common efforts towards resolving tensions through peaceful dialogue and negotiation, based on equity and mutual respect, were imperative for the maintenance of peace and security and the achievement of development.  The final outcome of the Millennium Summit must serve as a vivid reminder to all of us in this regard, he said.

It was imperative that the international community reject the promulgation and application of unilateral actions, laws and regulations adversely affecting the sovereignty and economic, commercial and financial interests of other States.  Such actions also adversely affected the social and humanitarian activities of the targeted country and consequently hindered the full realization of the human rights of the targeted people. 

Since the ultimate objective of recourse to unilateral coercive measures was to create political and economic difficulty and instability in the targeted countries, Iran, like almost all other members of the international community, advocated the removal and elimination of all economic and trade embargoes imposed against Cuba and believed that the differences between States must be settled through peaceful means.   

JEANETTE NDHLOVU (South Africa) said that for more than forty years, the people of Cuba had suffered from the unilateral embargo imposed against it by the United States, which continued to cause the people of Cuba untold suffering.  The daily lives of men, women and children had been seriously affected by policies beyond their control.  It was no wonder that the overwhelming majority of Member States were rallying to support a resolution to end that embargo.

At a recent ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in New York, Ministers had condemned the continued application of extra-territorial measures against certain developing countries, which were intended to prevent those nations from determining their own political, economic and social systems, she said.  Those measures threatened the sovereignty of States and adversely affected their social and economic development.

South Africa called upon all countries to reject the unilateral imposition of sanctions because they stood in stark contrast to the international laws that guided all civilized States, she said.  The continued economic, commercial and financial embargo by the United States against Cuba flagrantly violated the sovereign equality of States as well as the principles of non-intervention and non-interference in domestic affairs.  South Africa was guided by those basic norms of international conduct in supporting the need to eliminate coercive economic measures as a means of political and economic compulsion.

JORGE EDUARDO NAVARRETE (Mexico) said the principles of the Charter and international law constituted the norm for relations between Mexico and other States.  His country had always rejected unilateral coercive measures not imposed by the Security Council or the Assembly, as well as the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.

Mexico was committed to the inalienable right of all States to choose their own economical and political system based on the wishes of the people.  His country had stipulated that the Helms-Burton Act was contrary to international law in an opinion before the Inter-American Judicial Committee in 1996.  In order to eliminate the negative effects extraterritorial measures might have on the trade of Mexico, his country had issued a law protecting commercial activities.  Mexico maintained friendly relations with Cuba, assuming a non-discriminatory trade policy, and rejected attempts to undermine the economic links with that country.

The embargo against Cuba must end, he said.  Mexico regretted the negative effects the economic, commercial and financial blockade had had on the Cuban people.  Over the last nine years, the Assembly had called on Member States to refrain from laws and measures which were extraterritorial in scope.  He would vote in favor of the draft resolution.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said he would vote in favor of the draft resolution for the ninth year in a row.  He hoped the reasons that had given rise to the issue would disappear, meaning that the embargo against Cuba would be lifted.

Sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States were principles all Members were expected to respect, he said.  By applying extraterritorial measures against Cuba, the United States was infringing on the rights of another State and violating all the rules governing trade between States.  Cuba had suffered enormously from the blockade and the vulnerable members of its society were most hurt.  Cuba had expressed its willingness for a dialogue to end the embargo.  Dialogue based on mutual respect was the hallmark of relations at the United Nations.  The normalization of relations between the two countries would benefit both.

He said the international community had expressed its increasing support for ending the embargo against Cuba, and cited, among others, a ministerial declaration at Cartagena adopted by the non-aligned States.  He said the unilateral measures being applied against Cuba must be removed.

ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said that the United States had imposed the economic, financial and commercial embargo against Cuba for far too long.  The blockade did not benefit either of the two parties.  On the contrary, it served only to maintain the tensions between them and the suffering of the Cuban people.  His country believed that discriminatory commercial practices and the extraterritorial application of internal laws went against the very core of the United Nations Charter as well as the core of cooperation and dialogue among States.

All countries had the right to chose their own social system and its means of development, he said, and no country had the right to meddle with the internal affairs of another State.  Furthermore, the equal sovereignty of States and the peaceful settlement of disputes were values in international relations that needed to be adhered to.  He said the international community must do all it could to ensure an enabling economic environment that all countries, including Cuba, could benefit from -- an economic environment where there was an equal chance to benefit from international commercial and financial systems.

FELIPE PEREZ ROQUE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, in introducing the draft resolution (document A/56/L.9), said the web of legal prohibitions derived from the blockade against Cuba was so intricate that not even the combined goodwill of both Cuban and United States Governments could overcome such obstacles as transporting goods from United States ports to Cuba.  He noted that on   7 November, the Government of the United States had expressed its deep grief and concern for the Cuban people for the havoc wrought by Hurricane Michelle, and declared its willingness to assess the need for assistance.  Nothing like this had happened during more than 40 years of tense relations between two countries.  Cuba responded appreciatively, requesting that on this exceptional occasion the United States would allow Cuban State-run companies to purchase food, medicines and raw material from the United States.  However, arrangements could not be made.  At times, he went on, common sense was elusive for some politicians.  Cuba wanted the end of the blockade, as well as the reestablishment of normal and mutually respectful relations with the United States.  It would not be willing to make compromises that would impinge on its principles for the blockade to be lifted.  Could anyone, he asked, explain the obsessive continuation of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for over four decades?

He said lifting the blockade would require the Government of the United States to take a number of decisions, among which were:  repeal of the Helms-Burton Act and the subsequent Torricelli Act; elimination of rule by which goods imported by the United States from any country could not contain any Cuban raw materials; granting Cuba access to the United States and international financial system; authorization for Cuba to make free purchases in the United States market and to freely export to the United States market; permission for United States citizens to travel to Cuba freely as tourists; return of Cuban assets frozen in United States banks; and authorization of United States companies to invest in Cuba.

To end the policy of “aggression” against Cuba, he said, the United States should, among other actions, annul the Cuban Adjustment Act and end the inclusion of Cuba on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist states, and relinquish the continued occupation of the Guantanamo Naval Base.

He said the blockade against Cuba was illegal, violated the Charter of the United Nations, violated the Geneva Conventions, and deprived the Cuban people of access to food and medicine, something prohibited by international law even in times of war.  The blockade did not enjoy majority support in the United States, and violated the rights of the American people.  There was consensus in the Congress for changing the policy.  The blockade was rejected by the international community.  He appealed to the Assembly to express once again its support for the effective ending of the blockade.

SHEN GUOFANG (China) said the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba had greatly hampered the Cuban people in their efforts to achieve economic and social development.  It had seriously undermined Cuba’s efforts to eliminate poverty and improve the living standards of its people.

The embargo had inflicted enormous suffering on Cuban women and children in particular, which violated their human rights.  It had also impeded the normal economic and trade exchanges between Cuba and many countries, and gravely encroached upon their legitimate rights and interests.  It was time to bring such a phenomenon to an immediate end.

All countries had the right to choose their own social system and mode of development, which brooked no interference from any other nation.  Forcing a country to give up its chosen mode of development, or attempting to overturn its government by imposing a unilateral embargo against it, violated the principles of the United Nations Charter.  The international community strongly desired that a certain country forsake its outdated embargo, choose dialogue over isolation and confrontation, and resolve its disputes with other countries through constructive negotiation.

MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela) said he would vote in favor of the resolution.  His country had continued to express its repudiation of laws that infringed on the rights of States.  Punitive measures such as sanctions, violated the basic principles of international law and of good relations between States.  There was no justification for the negative effects resulting from unilateral measures, at a time when free trade and good relations were the fundamental elements driving the global economy.

Venezuela again repudiated the unilateral measures that infringed on Cuba’s rights, he said.  It also endorsed the declarations on the subject by numerous regional groups, including the Organization of American States (OAS).  Just days ago in Lima, the Ibero-American heads of government had also issued a declaration calling for an end to the action.  The blockade should be ended; then dialogue could lead to mutual cooperation and respect.  Cuba’s Foreign Minister had described the steps needed for a solution to the situation once the blockade was lifted.

GUMA AMER (Libya) said at the last Assembly session that the international community had reaffirmed for the ninth time its rejection of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba. Successive United States administrations had not reversed their approach, however, even though numerous partners and organizations had rejected it.  It even had enacted a series of coercive laws against third party countries.  That was a deliberate disregard by the United States of the will of the international community, and a manifestation of the fact that Washington D.C. was bent on imposing codes of conduct on other countries.

The blockade had had far-reaching consequences on the people of Cuba, he said.  It curtailed the ability to import foodstuffs, medical equipment and medicine.  The most vulnerable of the Cuban people were the victims, which was a violation of human rights.  The embargo against Cuba was not the only one the United States had imposed.  It had imposed sanctions against 70 countries, among them Libya.  As the United States authorities had expanded the siege against Cuba, it had also passed laws against investment in Libya.  That law had recently been extended for five more years, disregarding Assembly resolutions.

The people of Cuba would like to live in peace and have good relations with its neighbours, based on full equality and mutual respect, he said.  He hoped reason would prevail over unbridled power.  The ball was in the court of the United States.  It either would start to engage itself with Cuba, ending the blockade, or it would continue its current policies of embargo and domination.  The international community would condemn the latter behaviour as contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter.

KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar) said that, for almost a decade, the General Assembly had urged Member States to refrain from promulgating and applying laws with extraterritorial effects and urged those Members that had and continued to apply those laws to repeal or invalidate them.  However, those appeals, supported by an overwhelming number of Member States, had been without avail.  As a result, the people of Cuba, particularly the most vulnerable sectors of its population, continued to suffer the dire consequences of the economic and financial embargo.  He appealed once again to the United States to rethink and abolish a policy that was at variance with the will of the international community. 

The continued imposition of an economic, commercial and financial embargo by the United States against Cuba was in contravention of the principles of international law, respect for the sovereign equality of States and freedom to engage in international trade and navigation, he continued.  He, therefore, strongly opposed such measures as the Torricelli Act, the Helms-Burton Act and other embargo regulations.  Furthermore, the continued application of the policy, although it had been implemented for over four decades, had not served the interest of either country.  For those reasons, the appeal of the international community to lift the embargo against Cuba must not be ignored any longer.

MATHIAS DAKA (Zambia) said the embargo against Cuba hurts innocent people, particularly women and children, and did not in any way affect the strong foundation that had held the Cuban revolution together for the past 42 years.  The Cuban people had become more determined than ever to stand together in defence of the principles of self-determination, sovereignty and national independence for which they had sacrificed so dearly.

He would once again vote in favour of the draft resolution, based on his Government’s firm belief in the sanctity of the Charter, which bound all Member States.  Measures such as the Helms-Burton Act violated international law and, in particular, international humanitarian law.

He was concerned that the continued embargo against Cuba had a direct negative impact on the principle of free trade and navigation that had been espoused by the Assembly over the years.  The United Nations should begin to explore ways in which to assist the Cuban authorities in overcoming the legacies of the 42-year old embargo.  Lifting the embargo would go a long way in strengthening regional trade and navigation.  He appealed to all Member States to support the call for the immediate lifting of the sanctions against Cuba.

MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said that the sanctions against Cuba had led to immense suffering for many years.  The Helms-Burton law of 1996 had had important extraterritorial effects, which infringed on the sovereignty of other States and thus their freedom to trade with Cuba.  That was a flagrant violation of the Charter and a violation of the international commercial order.  It was high time to protect the sovereignty of all States, their rights to self-determination and to condemn deliberate violations of international law.

He condemned the policy of the United States, which scorned the will of the international community.  The embargo against Cuba was not a unique case; the United States was applying economic sanctions against a large number of developing countries.  The United States was the only country insisting on the continuation of sanctions against Iraq.  Sanctions that had caused the death of a 1.5 million Iraqis, mostly children.

He concluded by saying that United States leaders claimed that the lifting of the embargo was subject to a change of regime in Cuba.  The same was said with regard to Iraq.  The use of economic sanctions to undermine the political or social system of another State undermined the very basis of international relations and took the world back to the law of the jungle.  It was time for the United Nations to put an end to the embargo, in all its forms.   

PATRICK ALBERT LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking for members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said those countries joined with the Member States who had expressed the need to bring to an end the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.  The CARICOM States attached importance to the strict observance of the principles of international law and to freedom of trade and navigation.

In keeping with a policy of a mutual respect, good neighbourliness, and respect for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, CARICOM countries had sought to expand and strengthen their relations with Cuba, and had sought to promote Cuba’s gradual economic integration into the Caribbean sub-region through functional cooperation and trade.

The CARICOM group believed that a constructive process of dialogue would remove the dangers of tension and conflict in the Caribbean, and would improve the prospects for peaceful development in the region. 

NGUYEN THAN CHAU (Viet Nam) said three generations of Cubans had been born during the period of economic, commercial and financial embargo against their country, and had become accustomed to the hardships the embargo imposed upon them.  They had become used to making do with the second best for daily necessity, but there was one thing that was always the best –- their patriotism.  Everyone must admire them for the great achievements they had made, and for what they had contributed to the international community.

The embargo could be judged by ordinary people everywhere as too long, and as counter-productive on both ends.  It was counter to the law that governed international relations in trying to force people to abandon their chosen course of development.  This was why there had been unanimous condemnation of the sanctions, and the demand that they be lifted to allow the Cuban people to focus all their energy on rebuilding their country for a much better life.

SERGEI LING (Belarus) said he would vote in favour of the draft resolution, as he had last year.  His country was against the application of unilateral measures.  It had never employed measures of that sort, and had no intention of ever doing so.  Dialogue must bring about the resolution of the problems between the United States and Cuba.  Unilateral measures could not possibly have a place in the “inter-connectedness and equality” of contemporary international relations.

GERHARD THERON (Namibia) said the common view reflected in the responses from the Member States contained in the Secretary-General’s report was that the embargo must be lifted.  The Charter was also clear with respect to the sovereignty of all States, big and small.  The unilateral measures imposed by the United States against Cuba were in violation of international law, and an interference of the internal affairs of Cuba.  Once again, he would vote in favour of the draft resolution.

Action on draft

The Assembly then turned to the draft resolution on ending the United States embargo against Cuba (document A/56./L.9)

Speaking in explanation of vote, STEPHANE DE LOECKER (Belgium), for members of the European Union, said those countries believed that trade policy of the United States towards Cuba remained essentially a bilateral issue.  However, the European Union had repeatedly and clearly voiced its opposition to the “extra-territorial nature” of the embargo decreed by its 1992 ‘Cuban Democracy Act’ and the 1996 Helms-Burton Act.  The European Union could not agree to the United States attempting to define or restrict unilaterally the economic and commercial relations, which European Union members maintained with third countries.  In 1996 the Council of Ministers of the European Union adopted a regulation and a joint action aimed at protecting the interests of European Union nationals against the extra-territorial effects of the Helms-Burton Act.

He said the major objective of European Union members on their relations with Cuba was to encourage the process of gradual and peaceful transition towards a pluralist democracy, with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as towards economic recovery.  The European Union was still concerned about the human rights situation in Cuba, even if some first tenuous signs of amelioration had been observed.  The Union wanted change in Cuba, but did not want to impose it by coercive measures and was in favour of a constructive and frank dialogue on all issues of common interest.  Members of the European Union would vote unanimously in favour of the draft.

JAMES B. CUNNINGHAM (United States), said the United States opposed the draft.  Its trade embargo against the Government of Cuba was a matter of bilateral trade policy, and not an issue the Assembly should consider.  It did not forbid other nations to trade with Cuba; it was their decision.  The United States  chose, based on Cuba’s repressive policies, not to trade with the Cuban Government, and had every right to do so.

While maintaining the trade embargo, he said, the United States had moved over the past years to support the Cuban people.  United States food sales were now legal to Cuba, and its government was negotiating the purchase of millions of dollars’ worth of food.  The Cuban Government had reversed its policy to refuse to buy American food after turning down the American offer of disaster assistance after Hurricane Michelle.

The policy goal of the United States, he said, was to foster a transition to a democratic form of government in Cuba, to foster human rights there, to help develop civil society and to provide for the economic prosperity the Cuban Government’s retrograde economic policies were denying the Cuban people.

Cuba maintained that human rights, or rather the lack thereof, were their own concern.  The United States strongly disagreed; human rights violations were of concern to the entire international community.  The focus of the international community should be on the continuing human rights crisis of Cuba, rather than on the bilateral efforts of the United States to facilitate a peaceful transition to democracy on that island.

He said Cuba had proven itself out of step with its recent “hideous remarks” on the United States reaction regarding the 11 September attacks. He added, “This country is an anachronism in the democratic Western Hemisphere, a throwback to a crueler and less free time.  The draft resolution distracts the attention of the international community and, worse, is used by the Cuban Government to justify its continued oppressive policies.”

ARNE BIRGER HONNINGSTAD (Norway), in explaining his vote, said that the Norwegian Government believed there was a clear distinction between unilateral measures and sanctions adopted by the international community through the United Nations.  In his view, no country must impose its legislation on third countries.  Norway would therefore again vote in favour of the resolution.  This did not signify that Norway would not like to see changes in the attitude of the Cuban Government towards human rights.  However, the embargo could not justify limitations on civil and political rights in Cuba, such as the freedom of expression and association. 

FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) and associated countries, said he would vote in favour of the draft.  In numerous regional communiqués, the countries of South and Latin America had expressed their view that unilateral measures were unacceptable.  They were particularly out of place in this day when the world was witnessing the gravity of drastic events that could happen to mankind, and how vulnerable humanity was.  Maintaining the sanctions not only weakened the fight against common enemies but it was also in contrast to the spirit of the times.

TAKAYUKI KITAGAWA (Japan) said he would vote in favour of the draft.  He shared the concerns of many others regarding the extraterritorial application of jurisdiction such as that arising from the Helms-Burton Act of the United States.  The legislation that had followed in its wake had not allayed concerns about the circumstances surrounding enactment of the Act.

Even so, he added, the General Assembly was not necessarily the right forum in which to address the very complex issue of the United States embargo against Cuba.  Both countries should strengthen efforts to seek a solution through bilateral dialogue.

RIM SONG CHOL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said opposition to all forms of sanctions against sovereign States restraining their independent development was the consistent policy of his Government.  The unilateral and extraterritorial sanctions imposed by the United States against Cuba were the result of a policy which attempted to change the political, economic and social system in Cuba.  It constituted a violation of the principles of respect for sovereign equality of States and non-intervention and non-interference in their internal affairs.  It was also against freedom of international trade and navigation as embodied in the United Nations Charter and the international law.  His delegation strongly urged the United States to end the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba at the earliest possible date, as demanded by the international community.

EVGENY A. STANISLAVOV (Russian Federation), in explanation of his vote, said he shared the view of the overwhelming majority on the inadmissibility of any unilateral measures undertaken by States as being a violation of the United Nations Charter and against the principles of international law.  He would therefore vote in favour of the resolution.  The continuation of the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba was a legacy from the cold war, which contradicted the realities of today’s international relations and the fundamental principles of international law.  The Russian Federation was convinced that lifting the embargo against Cuba, and the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, would contribute to improving the climate in the region.  It would promote the future inclusion of Cuba in world international economic relations, and thus positive changes in its economic and social life.  His country intended to continue developing normal trade and economic relations with Cuba, and he hoped for constructive changes in United States policy towards Cuba in the spirit of the historic decisions approved by the Millennium Declaration.

The Assembly then adopted, in a recorded vote of 167 Member States in favour to 3 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), and with 3 abstentions (Latvia, Micronesia, Nicaragua), the draft resolution contained in document A/56/L.9 on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba. (For details of vote, see Annex.)

(annex follows)

ANNEX

Vote on Ending Economic Embargo against Cuba

The Assembly adopted the draft resolution on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba (document A/56/L.9) by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 3 against, with   3 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, United States.

Abstaining: Federated States of Micronesia, Latvia, Nicaragua.

Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, El Salvador, Kiribati, Morocco, Palau, Solomon Islands.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.