UNITED NATONS, November 14 (Itar-Tass) — Russia hopes that after the US decisions to ease the economic embargo regime against Cuba new steps with a view to its total lifting will follow, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that calls on Washington to abandon the trade embargo that has been in effect against the island during 51 years.
“We hope that after the decisions of the US government to ease the embargo in certain aspects, in particular, lift certain restrictions on US citizens’ visiting relatives in Cuba, as well as on making money transfers and postal orders, other steps for the final lifting of the embargo will follow,” the Russian ambassador said from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly.
He stressed that Russia has consistently advocated the early lifting of the embargo and “in general called for stopping political and military pressure that aggravates confrontational tendencies in international relations.” The diplomat said that the unilateral American sanctions that have been in effect for already 50 years “have shown that it is impossible to influence the Cuban people’s sovereign choice of the development model,” and only resulted in the deterioration of the living conditions of the island’s population.
“The lifting of sanctions and the subsequent normalisation of Cuban-American relations would serve normalisation of the situation around the Republic of Cuba and would contribute to the implementation of the ambitious program of social and economic transformation, aimed at modernising the national economy and improving living standards that was launched on the island in 2011,” Vitaly Churkin said.
Russia was among the 188 UN member states that voted on Tuesday for the resolution, which calls on the United States to lift the embargo against Cuba “as soon as possible.” Three countries: the United States, Israel and Palau voted against the document. Two other delegations – of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands - abstained.
The 193-member 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 says. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, told the Assembly during the debate that preceded the vote that the last four years of US President Barack Obama’s administration has witnessed a “persistent tightening” of the blockade, which has been in place for over half a century.
The US unilateral trade and economic embargo against Cuba has been in effect since 1961. The administration of the current US President Barack Obama has committed itself to easing the blockade, cancelling a number of restrictions on the travel of Americans to Cuba and on money remittances to the island nation. However, other sanctions measures remain in force.
According to Cuban authorities, the Cuban economy’s total direct and indirect losses from the US embargo since the early 1960s and up to December 2010 amounted to 104 billion US dollars.