Cuba signs pacts with UN

February 29th, 2008 - 2:21 pm ICT by admin  

United Nations, Feb 29 (IANS) Cuba has signed two pacts with the UN and said their implementation depended on the lifting of the 45-year-old US economic embargo against the communist-ruled island, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Friday. Cuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque signed two agreements on International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights here Thursday.

“The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US and its policy of aggression and hostility toward Cuba constitute the most serious obstacle for realisation of these rights by the Cuban people,” the minister said in a statement after meeting the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The statement said Cuba “will register the reservations or interpretative declarations it considers relevant” regarding the application and scope of the signed agreements.

Roque said the signing of the pacts was a “sovereign act” of Cuba. He reiterated Cuba’s desire to build a “normal relation” with Washington, and said: “The ball is now in the US court”.

“The decision must be made here. The embargo must be lifted because there are no reasons to maintain it,” he said.

The pacts signed by Cuba were adopted in 1966 by the UN General Assembly and are based on the fundamental rights included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - they are nourishment, free education, forming unions, access to culture and artistic freedom, among others.

Cuba, which is a one-party state, has banned independent labour unions and news media. It also holds some 225 political prisoners, according to an estimate by dissident groups.

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