Diplomats say USA will abstain on United Nations vote on Cuba embargo

Power made clear that the US rejects language in the resolution that questions the embargo's legality and said the U.S.is still "profoundly concerned" about human rights violations in Cuba.

Cuba's foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, welcomed the abstention, saying it is a positive step for the future of relations between the two countries, but that the US needs to go further.

The U.N. resolution called for the swift repeal of the USA embargo against Cuba.

Power said she abstained from the resolution rather than voting for it because the US doesn't agree with the reasons stated in the resolution. "We hope that it will be reflected in reality".

"The blockade is the main obstacle to the economic and social development of our people", he said. "Today, the United States will abstain".

With UN Vote Due, Will US Ever Lift Blockade Against Cuba?

"Today, we will take another small step to be able to do that". It urges the United States to repeal or invalidate the embargo on Cuba as soon as possible. "We continue to call on Congress to end the embargo which has lasted over half a century".

But Power also said that the abstention is not an acceptance of every provision of the measure, titled "Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba", which calls on member states to dissolve laws that contradict the UN Charter.

Power highlighted the significant progress made by the Cuban government in the protection of its people including the reduction of its child mortality rate and children's access to education. But sitting out the United Nations vote is just the latest change in the U.S.' attitude toward Cuba.

Those working to lift the embargo said the vote acknowledged that the "obsolete" policy had no place in worldwide affairs.

Caribbean bloc Caricom representative Courtenay Rattray of Jamaica stressed that "virtually the entire worldwide community has consistently highlighted that this ... measure is inconsistent with global law" and called on the assembly to "bury the last remnant of the cold war in the Americas". And he criticized the United States for allowing Americans to purchase unlimited quantities of Cuban-made cigars and rum, while limiting USA companies from investing in Cuba.

In Havana, Cuba organized a vote-watching party on the campus of the University of Havana, where students and government supporters followed the events on an hourslong special live state news broadcast projected onto a giant screen. But the US Congress is opposed, citing in particular Cuba's human rights violations.

In March, Obama made the first visit to Havana by a United States president in 88 years.

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