STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR RIYAD MANSOUR (STATE OF PALESTINE), CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, ON AGENDA ITEM 39: "NECESSITY OF ENDING THE ECONOMIC, COMMERCIAL AND FINANCIAL EMBARGO IMPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AGAINST CUBA", AT THE PLENARY OF THE SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 6 November 2019)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 39: Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba. I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the item we are discussing today.
2. The Group regrets that the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost six decades, remains in full application and continues to be strengthened.
3. The Group recalls the positive steps taken by the former U.S. Administration between 2015 and 2016, which were still inadequate to effectively end the impact of the embargo, but were focused in the right direction.
4. The Group regrets the new policy established by the current Administration of the United States, aimed at strengthening the embargo against Cuba. The Group believes this is a setback in the process of achieving normalized relations between both countries.
5. The Group expresses deep concern over the widening of the extraterritorial nature of the embargo against Cuba, including the full implementation of Chapter III of the Helms-Burton Act, and rejects the reinforcement of the financial measures adopted by the Government of United States, aimed at tightening the embargo.
6. The Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate our commitment to the principles, purposes and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the principles of sovereign equality of States, non-intervention and non-interference in their internal affairs, as well as the freedom of international trade and navigation. The Group believes that it is the duty and responsibility of every Member State to strictly comply with these principles. The Group is of the view that any policy or action disregarding these principles, in this case, unilateral economic sanctions against Cuba should be seriously considered for an immediate repeal.
7. Given the fact that the US embargo against Cuba has continued for almost sixty years, the Group of 77 and China would like to express our deep concern about the prolonged negative effects that the economic sanctions and travel restrictions have had on Cuba and its people. From April 2018 to March this year, the impact of the US embargo on Cuba's foreign trade amounts to more than 4 billion US dollars. Limited foreign investment and difficult access to development credits translate directly into economic hardship and humanitarian impacts for the people of Cuba. The country's socio-economic reforms have also been hampered by the embargo.
8. The Group of 77 and China is concerned that, if these economic sanctions continue, Cuba's development potential, in both economic and human development terms, will be unfairly undermined and it would be impossible for Cuba to successfully embark on the path towards sustainable development, envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for which all Member States have pledged support.
9. Over many decades, Cuba has extensively and continuously contributed to the international community, particularly through South - South Cooperation. Cuba's emergency assistance to the African countries affected by the Ebola crises in West Africa is a great example of its solidarity with the international community.
10. The Group of 77 and China would like to reiterate our strong support for the implementation of the recommendations of the General Assembly resolution 73/8, and would like to reiterate our call for the economic, commercial and financial embargo by the US against Cuba to cease. The urgency and necessity of our call is further highlighted by the ongoing global collective strive to implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The Group of 77 and China, therefore, would like to appeal to the international community to further step up efforts in support for the lifting of the embargo, not only for the prospect of Cuba alone, but also for the fun achievement of economic and social development of all members of the global community as a whole.
I thank you for your attention.