U.N. General Assembly Urges the United States to Lift Embargo against Cuba

Wednesday the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to urge the United States to lift a nearly half century-old economic embargo against Cuba, making its now ritual call amid some easing of U.S. ties toward the communist-run island.

The assembly passed a non-binding resolution -- with 187 votes in favor, three against and two abstentions .

U.S. President Barack Obama's administration has taken some steps to ease hostility with Cuba, although it has not moved to lift the trade embargo.

"The economic blockade has not met, nor will it meet, its purpose of bending the patriotic determination of the Cuban people but it generates shortages, it restricts our development potential and seriously damages our economy," Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told the General Assembly, Reuters reports.

It was also reported, only the United States, Israel and Palau voted against the non-binding resolution, while Micronesia and the Marshall Islands abstained.

Over 17 consecutive years since 1992, a majority in the United Nations General Assembly have supported lifting the unilateral U.S. embargo, Xinhua reports.

The Associated Press quoted Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla as saying, "The blockade is an uncultured act of arrogance." He likened the policy to "an act of genocide" that is "ethically unacceptable."

It was the first time the world body has taken the vote since President Barack Obama took office in January, promising to extend a hand of friendship to Washington's traditional enemies.

The administration has loosened financial and travel restrictions on Americans with relatives in Cuba, and started talks aimed at restoring direct mail links. It sent a senior diplomat to Havana in September for unannounced meetings with Cuban officials that were believed to be the highest-level talks between the two countries in decades.

Still, Washington has made clear it is not prepared to lift the embargo until Cuba accepts some political, economic and financial changes, The Associated Press reports.

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