Russian lawmakers slam US economic embargo on Cuba

October 17th, 2008 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Oct 17 (RIA Novosti) Russian lawmakers Friday called on the international community to denounce the US’ economic blockade of Cuba and appealed for aid for the island nation, which has been badly hit by recent hurricanes. The members of State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, approved a statement addressing the parliaments of UN member states and international parliamentary organisations.

The lawmakers accused the US of consistently ignoring UN General Assembly anti-embargo resolutions for the last 16 years, breaching commonly acknowledged principles of international law, the UN Charter and free international trade.

The MPs said the continuous blockade had grave consequences for the leftist country, particularly in healthcare, education, culture, science, transport, power generation and agriculture.

In their statement, the lawmakers also said the inhumanity of the economic blockade had been made clear by the damage caused by Hurricane Ike in September and Hurricane Gustav in late August. The Caribbean island has put its damage at $5 billion.

The hurricanes severely damaged the country’s agricultural sector, communications and housing. At least seven people were killed and thousands were left homeless.

The Russian legislators accused the US of giving the Cuban leadership unacceptable political demands as a condition for humanitarian aid, which Washington formally agreed to offer and which Cuba refused to accept.

The MPs called for the lifting of the Helms-Burton Act that strengthened the US embargo against Cuba in 1996, saying Cuba would then be able to buy food and construction materials from US firms.

The parliamentarians also called on all UN member states and parliamentary organisations to offer help to Cuba in dealing with the consequences of the hurricanes without politicizing the issue.

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