The US has voted to uphold its embargo with Cuba despite improved relations with the communist country. The move comes as Washington faces international criticism over the issue.
The US voted on Tuesday against a UN resolution calling for an end to its embargo with Cuba, nearly a year after the two former Cold War rivals announced the restoration of diplomatic ties.
The UN General Assembly voted 191-2 in support of ending the embargo, with only the US and Israel expressing their dissent.
The US has voted against the resolution every year for the past 24 years. There was speculation in the lead-up to this year's vote that it would abstain, in a clear sign that it was willing to continue mending relations with the communist country.
However, US deputy ambassador Ronald Godard made it clear that wouldn't happen when, prior to the vote, he told the assembly Cuba was "mistaken" if it thought this resolution would improve relations between the two countries.
In the end, the US said it voted against the resolution because it didn't reflect "the spirit of engagement" between the two governments.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in an address to the Assembly, said lifting the embargo was a necessary step in order for Havana to achieve normalized relations with Washington.
US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on December 17 that the two countries would restore diplomatic ties with one another after more than 50 years of frozen relations. Obama himself has called for the lifting of the embargo, but faces a lack of support from the Republican-dominated Congress.
Washington broke off diplomatic ties with Havana after communist leader Fidel Castro took control of the government in 1961.
blc/bw (dpa, AP, Reuters)