India votes at UN for lifting US embargo on Cuba

October 30th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Oct 30 (IANS) Voting in favour of a UN resolution asking the US to lift the economic embargo imposed on Cuba 46 years ago, India has opposed unilateral measures by countries which impinge on the sovereignty of others.The Cuba-sponsored resolution was passed 179-4 by the UN General Assembly. The four opposing votes came from the US, Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands.

Intervening in the UNGA debate over the resolution Wednesday, Indian MP Rajeev Shukla reiterated “India’s opposition to unilateral measures by countries which impinge on the sovereignty of another country, including attempts to extend the application of a country’s laws extra-territorially to other sovereign nations”.

The resolution condemning the US embargo on Cuba, which is recommendatory in nature, has been discussed and adopted by the UNGA for the past 17 years and ignored every year by the US.

“Despite the repeated calls of the General Assembly, its resolutions remain unimplemented in contravention of world opinion,” Shukla said.

The embargo, particularly its extra-territorial aspects, continues to remain in force.

“In particular, domestic US laws like the Cuba Democracy Act of 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act of 1996 have enhanced the extra-territorial reach of the embargo, encompassing foreign companies as well as foreign subsidiaries of US companies doing business with Cuba or Cuban entities,” Shukla said.

The embargo, he said, is adversely affecting the Cuban people and the development efforts of the country.

“Health care is particularly affected, due to access controls on critical medical equipment, medicines, technologies and diagnostic aids, apart from enhanced cost of supplies,” he elaborated.

Despite the embargo, Shukla pointed out, the US continues to be a major source of imports for Cuba, insofar as permitted by the US Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000.

“This only serves to confirm the potential for trade, commerce and investment between these countries,” he said.

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