EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: In her address at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Gambia’s Vice President Dr Isatou Touray emphasised the county’s call on the United States to end the embargo it placed on Cuba and give neighbourliness a chance.
“The embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States belong to a bygone era. We call on the US to end the embargo and give friendly relations and good neighbourliness a chance,” VP Touray said.
Last year, a total of 189 UN Member States voted in favour, with Israel and the US voting against the resolution, urging all States to ‘refrain’ from promulgating and applying laws and measures which, among other things, in the case of the embargo, interfere with the freedom of trade and navigation.
The Assembly called upon States “that have and continue to apply such laws and measures to take the steps necessary to repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.”
The Gambia has been a staunch advocate for the lifting of the blockade against the Caribbean nation, tabling a reminder before each UN General Assembly. Cuba is a close ally of The Gambia since the time of the exiled former president Yahya Jammeh, sending medical doctors to the tiny West African state and offering scholarships to medical students.
The UN General Assembly resolution has decided to include the agenda item entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba,” in the provisional agenda of this year’s session.
The vote on the resolution is unenforceable, but the Cuban-sponsored resolution shines a spotlight on the relative isolation of the US regarding the embargo, which was first imposed in 1960, when former leader Fidel Castro came to power, following the revolution.
Meanwhile, Vice President Touray also reiterated Gambia government’s commitment to the two-state solution in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. “The international community most galvanise renewed efforts towards a comprehensive peace process. The conflict has persisted for two long. Palestinians most be allowed to have their own independence state with east Jerusalem as their capital. Israeli most also stop all their settlement activities in occupying Palestinian territory as well as respect the human rights of Palestinians.”
Dr Touray said the two sides need to urgently negotiate a political solution to the conflict that continues to affect millions of lives. “We are convinced that the situation requires a credible peace initiative and United Nations and the international community can spearhead with support from the OIC in its search for peace in Palestine.”
The country’s number-two said the OIC can play a strategic role in partnering with the UN and other partners by serving as credible bridge for mutual dialogue and understanding in the search for comprehensive peace across the middle East and the world at large.