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Cablegate: Unga: Un Passes 18th Annual Resolution Against The

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0982/01 3071446
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031446Z NOV 09
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7502
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 0016
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1203
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0402
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV 0104
RUEHMU/AMEMBASSY MANAGUA PRIORITY 0007
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE PRIORITY 0236
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA PRIORITY 0289
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3920
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0819

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000982

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL AORC ECON UNGA CA
SUBJECT: UNGA: UN PASSES 18TH ANNUAL RESOLUTION AGAINST THE
CUBAN EMBARGO

REF: A. STATE 110442
B. 08 USUN 997

1. (U) SUMMARY: In plenary session on October 28, the UN
General Assembly (UNGA) passed its 18th annual resolution
condemning the United States economic and commercial embargo
on Cuba. The Foreign Minister of Cuba delivered a hostile,
cold-war style intervention, blaming the United States for
preventing children from receiving proper medical care,
referring to the embargo as genocide, and noting that the
U.S. administration has not yet lived up to its commitment to
change its foreign policy stance. Ambassador Rice delivered
remarks for the United States, rejecting the genocide charge
as an egregious misuse of the term that diminished the real
suffering of genocide victims. She urged the Cuban
leadership to extend freedoms to its people and pointed out
efforts made to assist the Cuban people under the new
administration. A host of countries including Libya, Mexico,
and India commended the U.S. for its easing of restrictions.
The final vote count was nearly identical to the previous
year: 187 for, 3 against, and 2 abstentions. Only Israel and
Palau joined the United States in voting against the
resolution. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) SPEAKERS LIST: The following countries 19 countries
delivered interventions: Sudan, Egypt, Saint Kitts and
Nevis, Mexico, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil,
Algeria, South Africa, Zambia, Venezuela, the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea, Gambia, Brazil, the Russian
Federation, Iran, and Cuba. Sixteen countries delivered an
explanation of vote: the United States, Congo, Nicaragua,
Sweden, Uruguay, Laos, Bolivia, Ghana, the Solomon Islands,
Syria, Libya, Norway, Uganda, Benin, Belarus, and Tanzania.
Cuba delivered the only right of reply.

3. (U) RESOLUTION PASSES IN A TIME-HONORED LANDSLIDE: With
192 votes cast, 187 countries voted for the draft resolution
A/64/L.4. Three countries voted against the resolution: the
United States, Israel, and Palau. Two countries abstained:
the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. The vote on the similar
resolution in 2008 was nearly identical, with El Salvador and
Iraq voting for the resolution this year, whereas last year
the two countries were absent (Reftel A). A similar
resolution has passed for the last 18 years with vote counts
similar to the one observed in 2009. The announcement that
the resolution had been adopted was met by considerable
applause, many countries congratulating Cuba's delegation in
person even as the session continued.

4. (U) ADOPTED RESOLUTION URGES STATES TO REPEAL EMBARGO
LAWS: The text of draft resolution A/64/L.4 reaffirms "the
sovereign equality of States, non-intervention, and
non-interference" and recalls "the need to eliminate
unilateral application of economic and trade measures by one
State against another." The resolution expressed concern that
further measures "aimed at strengthening and extending the
economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba
continue to be promulgated." It urges states "that have and
continue to apply such laws and measures to take the
necessary steps to repeal or invalidate them" and requests
that the Secretary-General prepare a report on the
implementation of the resolution.

5. (U) CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS THE EMBARGO GENOCIDE:
Minister for Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez opened his
speech by sharing examples of children, severely ill from
heart defects and cancer, allegedly unable to get the medical
care they needed, with the claim that the U.S. embargo
prevents key medicines and supplies from entering Cuba.
Rodriguez registered his dissatisfaction with the new
administration, noting that "Since the election of President
Obama, there has not been any change in the implementation of
the economic, commercial, and financial blockade against
Cuba." He contended that U.S. efforts to "dismantle the most
brutal restrictions" are "positive, but they are extremely
limited and insufficient." He called the embargo "a mass,
flagrant and systematic violation of human rights" and said
that it meets the 1948 Geneva Convention definition of
genocide. The FM complained about restrictions placed on
humanitarian aid, the application of the embargo on foreign
companies attempting to sell goods in Cuba, the inability of
U.S. businesses and tourists to enter the country, and
restrictions placed on access to information and


telecommunications networks.

6. (U) COUNTRIES RALLY TO CONDEMN EMBARGO: Dozens of
countries spoke forcefully against the ill-effects of the
embargo, several imploring the United States to move forward
in its new direction and lift the embargo. Egypt, speaking on
behalf of the non-aligned movement, claimed that the embargo
causes a "huge material loss and economic and financial
damage that has negatively impacted the welfare and well
being of the people of Cuba." Sudan, speaking on behalf of
the G77 and China, urged the U.S. to "fully adhere to the
principles of mutual respect and non-interference in the
internal affairs of a sisterly country." Nicaragua said that
the embargo is a flagrant violation of human rights and
assured delegates that Cuba will "continue to enlighten us
with its wisdom." Bolivia commented on President Obama's
recent selection for a Nobel Peace Prize and suggested that a
new period of cooperation to include ending the embargo would
be fitting with the award. At the close of the session,
President of the General Assembly Ali Treki embraced the
resolution, noting his "hope that the appeals addressed here
will be heard and implemented by all of us."

7. (U) CONSIDERABLE PRAISE FOR RECENT MEASURES TAKEN BY U.S.:
Many countries, despite voting in favor of the resolution,
commended the United States for easing certain restrictions.
India remarked that it is "encouraged by the steps announced
by the current U.S. administration earlier this year to
reduce restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba by
Cuban-Americans and on U.S. telecommunications services."
Mexico commented on recent U.S. steps, remarking that "these
measures contribute to improve the prevailing ambience."
Tanzania noted that the family reunification program "is a
positive trend and a bit of the beginning of the end." Libya
added that the measures are "a reason for optimism." Norway,
Benin and Ghana were among others signaling optimism over
steps taken by the U.S. and the direction of the country's
leadership.

8. (U) AMBASSADOR RICE DELIVERS REMARKS FOR U.S. DELEGATION:
Ambassador Rice delivered the U.S. explanation of vote,
reminding the audience that the Obama Administration has
taken clear steps aimed at supporting the desire of Cubans to
"freely determine their country's future" and noted the
restrictions lifted to facilitate the flow of humanitarian
items, remittances, family visits, extend the flow of
telecommunications services, and permit and re-establish
direct mail service. Ambassador Rice addressed the Cuban
allegations of genocide, noting that this is a distortion
which "diminishes the real suffering of victims of genocide
elsewhere in the world." She rebutted claims by Cuba that
the U.S. is responsible for suffering among the Cubans,
instead pointing out that the "U.S. is a major source of
humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people." Ambassador
Rice urged Cuba to release prisoners of conscience, ratify
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
reduce charges on remittances, and allow greater freedom of
speech. Finally she promised that the U.S. would continue to
find ways to expand opportunities for Cubans and to work with
the Cuban government on "issues of mutual concern and
national security." Full text of the remarks can be found at
http://www.usun.state.gov/briefing/statements /2009/131014.htm.

9. (U) CUBA REPLIES TO SWEDEN, NORWAY, AND U.S.
INTERVENTIONS: Cuba replied to comments made by Sweden (on
behalf of the E.U.), Norway, and the U.S., directing most
comments to Ambassador Rice, pointing out that it "respects
her opinions" and "recognizes that her career is different
than the neo-conservatives such as Bolton," and therefore
regretted that she is following the same line of reasoning as
her predecessors. Cuba contended that its country is in fact
"closer to Lincoln's democracy than the plutocracy of the
rich" and called on the U.S. to release the five Cuban
"anti-terrorists" held in U.S. prisons. Cuba again defended
the legal grounds for using the word genocide (citing the
Geneva Conventions). Despite all its rhetoric to the
contrary, Cuba admitted that with respect to the United
States, "there have been some steps in the right direction,"
but added "they do not signify any progress in lifting the
blockade." Cuba cited Ambassador Rice's recent speech at NYU
in which she embraced cooperation and the consideration of
new ideas and claimed to be "surprised that Ambassador Rice
had to say the opposite this morning."


Rice

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