Most of the World Wants an End to the US Economic Embargo against Cuba
The United Nations General Assembly Tuesday voted almost unanimously for an end to the 50-year U.S. economic embargo against Cuba.
One hundred ninety-one members of the General Assembly called for Washington to end the measures put in place during the height of the Cold War. Only the U.S. and Israel voted against it.
This was the strongest support the world body has expressed for ending the embargo in the 24 consecutive years it has taken up the issue.
But Ron Goddard, the deputy U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the vote will "not help move things forward."
"Although normalization will be a long and complex road, we've made considerable progress. We regret therefore that the government of Cuba has chosen to proceed with its annual resolution. The text falls short of reflecting the significant steps that have been taken and the spirit of engagement President Obama has championed. As a result, the United States cannot support it."
Last December, President Barack Obama ordered full restoration of diplomatic relations with the island nation. He also eased some travel restrictions, but only the U.S. Congress can lift the 56-year-old embargo.
Cuba's foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, urged the United States to unilaterally lift the embargo after the vote was held.
Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban Foreign Minister, said after the voting: "The blockade against Cuba is a unilateral act of the U.S. and should be lifted unilaterally without asking for anything in return. It's only up to the U.S. to adopt the necessary measures to comply with the international law, as President Obama has said, to serve the national interests of the U.S., which will be benefited by the lifting of the blockade."
Ambassador Goddard said U.S. and Cuban officials have met in Havana to set a broad agenda for cooperation spanning law enforcement, drug trafficking, human rights and climate change.
Godard told the assembly that fully normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba will require years of persistence and dedication on both sides."
Austria Announces Plans to Build Fence Along Border With Slovenia
Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner says Austria will build a fence along its border with Slovenia to slow the tide of migrants crossing into the country.
Mikl-Leitner made the announcement Wednesday, saying the fence will be meant to ensure controlled, orderly entry into Austria, not to keep migrants out altogether.
Speaking to reporters on the border, Mikl-Leitner used the term "technical barriers" to describe the planned construction. She did not present a time frame or budget for the plan.
Tuesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker criticized member nations for not acting expeditiously to provide funds and experts to help in managing Europe's worst migration crisis since World War Two.
Juncker said "the member states have been moving slowly at a time when they should be running."
He stressed the need for more funds and experts in a report to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that more than 700,000 people have arrived in Europe this year, fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.