Russia’s State Duma, the equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives, will appeal to the United Nations General Assembly to urge the United States to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, the Russian media reported Thursday (Oct. 15). The resolution [was submitted and passed on Friday (Oct. 23)] by the Duma’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, headed by Aleksandr Pushkov.
The Speaker of the Duma, Sergei Naryshkin, visited Cuba in early May of this year.
“For over 50 years, contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, the United States has unilaterally exerted economic pressure on the Republic of Cuba,” the resolution says.
The Duma welcomes the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana and the lifting of certain restrictions as a symbolic step towards the normalization of relations to the final lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island, the document says.
Nevertheless, “the Duma notes with regret that, despite the declarations of the U.S. administration on the normalization of relations, as well as the U.S. President’s acknowledgment in a message to Congress that the [United States’] policy toward the Republic of Cuba is obsolete, the Trading with the Enemy Act was extended again in September 2015, allegedly in accordance with the national interests of the United States.”
The use of a nation’s internal situation as a justification for the blockade of a sovereign state is absolutely unacceptable, the draft statement points out.
“The State Duma calls on the U.S. Congress to urgently revise the legislation on the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, and consider the prioritization of the introduced legislation on the normalization of relations and reconciliation between the U.S. and the Republic of Cuba,” the document says.
According to the Duma’s committee on foreign affairs, the United States’ attempts to link the lifting of the blockade of Cuba with the human rights situation in that sovereign state, which has a right to choose its own model of development, are unacceptable and contrary to the universally recognized principles and norms of international law.
In this regard, the Duma calls on the U.S. Congress “to consider the abolition of the so-called Helms-Burton Act and other legislative acts concerning issues of the economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba.”
Also, “bearing in mind the human rights violations in the Guant·namo prison, the State Duma calls for an end to the use of the territory under the sovereignty of the Republic of Cuba, to hold prisoners who are not citizens or employees of the Armed Forces of the United States,” the [resolution] adds.
“The State Duma appeals to the United Nations General Assembly, the parliaments of the States members of the United Nations and international parliamentary organizations to urge the United States to end its economic, commercial and financial embargo against the Republic of Cuba,” concludes the statement.
[UPDATE: The final resolution (No. 905000-6) passed Friday the 23rd during a plenary session of the Duma, 441 votes in favor, none against, no abstentions.]