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UN Calls for End of US Embargo Against Cuba - 2001-11-27

For the 10th consecutive year, the United Nations General Assembly has called for an end to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told the Assembly that the U.S. embargo has been the main obstacle to Cuba's economic development and is responsible for the hardships of millions of Cubans. Speaking through an English interpreter, Mr. Perez Roque said his nation stands ready to improve relations with the United States.

Does Cuba want the re-establishment of normal and mutually respectful relations with the United States? Yes, and it is ready to do so. It does not nurture a futile hatred or hopes of revenge, said Mr. Roque.

U.S. representative James Cunningham told the Assembly the embargo is a bilateral matter and not an issue for the United Nations. He suggested the General Assembly should turn its attention to human rights violations in Cuba. "The focus of the international community as manifested in the United Nations should be on the continuing human rights crisis in Cuba rather than on bilateral aspects of United States efforts to facilitate a peaceful transition to democracy on that island," he said.

But with only the United States, Israel and the Marshall Islands voting "no," the Assembly overwhelming voted to approve the resolution calling for an end to the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. The resolution by the U.N. General Assembly is basically symbolic with no practical effect.