US abstains in UN on Cuba embargo for first time

FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2016 file photo a Cuban and a U.S. flag hang on the windshield of a car in a garage in Havana, Cuba. Diplomats say the U.S. is expected to abstain, for the first time, from a U.N. resolution criticizing America's economic embargo against Cuba. Such a step would effectively pit the Obama administration, with the UN, against the Republican-led Congress, which supports the 55-year-old embargo despite the United States' resumption of full diplomatic relations with Cuba.  (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 10, 2016 file photo a Cuban and a U.S. flag hang on the windshield of a car in a garage in Havana, Cuba. Diplomats say the U.S. is expected to abstain, for the first time, from a U.N. resolution criticizing America's economic embargo against Cuba. Such a step would effectively pit the Obama administration, with the UN, against the Republican-led Congress, which supports the 55-year-old embargo despite the United States' resumption of full diplomatic relations with Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States has abstained for the first time in 25 years on a U.N. resolution condemning America’s economic embargo against Cuba, a measure it had always vehemently opposed.

The General Assembly resolution was overwhelming approved Wednesday by a vote of 191-0 with the United States and Israel abstaining. Diplomats in the assembly chamber burst into applause as the results appeared on an electronic board.

The U.S. decision to change its vote follows President Barack Obama’s restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and his support for lifting the embargo, which the Republican-led Congress is against.

The U.S. abstention in the General Assembly vote is certain to anger Republican opponents of lifting the 55-year-old embargo, but it reflects President Barack Obama’s belief shortly before he leaves office that it’s time to move ahead in normalizing U.S.-Cuban ties.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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