Sunday, 27 September 2015

President Obama And Cuba's Castro To Meet At UN

President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will hold talks while they attend the United Nations General Assembly. The two will meet on the sidelines of the gathering of world leaders on Tuesday, the White House announced as Mr Obama departed for New York. It will mark the second meeting between the pair since they announced last year a restoration of diplomatic ties between the two former Cold War foes. Mr Obama and Mr Castro first met in April at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, marking the first time in more than 50 years that leaders from the two countries held face-to-face talks. Among the likely topics at this week's meeting will be the Obama administration's decision on whether to abstain from the annual UN vote condemning the US trade embargo against Cuba.

The move would mark the first time Washington has declined to oppose the resolution, which criticizes American law. Mr Obama has been pressing Congress to scrap the 54-year embargo since December. Last year, the UN vote against the embargo was 188-2, with only Israel siding with the US.
Abstaining from the vote would mark one of the largest steps yet in the normalizing of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba. Both nations took the symbolic step of reopening their respective embassies in Havana and Washington DC in recent months. Relations between the US and Cuba began to deteriorate after the 1959 Cuban Revolution overthrew the Batista government.

After the communist government began nationalizing US industries America responded by banning exports to the island and halting the supply of oil. The move pushed Cuba towards consolidating its trade relations with the former Soviet Union, which culminated in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the discovery of Soviet missile sites in Cuba - sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

HENRY E. J Williams

Author & Editor

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