Thursday, October 29, 2009

Suggestion that US is not assisting Cuba is false: Obama Admin

Suggestion that US is not assisting Cuba is false: Obama Admin
Updated on Thursday, October 29, 2009, 09:30 IST
Tags:US, Cuba, Obama Admin

Washington: The Obama Administration has said the suggestion that the
United States is not assisting Cuba is false.

"The suggestion that we are not assisting Cuba is just false. I mean, we
are one of the major providers of humanitarian assistance to Cuba".

"But we don't believe that while there are repressive measures in place
in Cuba, that we should reward the Government of Cuba by lifting the
economic sanctions that could assist the Government of Cuba in its
repression of its own citizens," State Department spokesman, Ian Kelly,
told reporters at his daily news briefing.

"The United States believes it has the sovereign right to conduct its
economic relationship with Cuba as determined by US national interests,"
he said.

"Sanctions on Cuba are designed to permit humanitarian items to reach
the Cuban people, while denying the Cuban Government resources that it
could use to repress its citizens," he said in response to a question.

Kelly said the US is a leading source of food and humanitarian relief to
Cuba. "In 2008, US exported USD 717 million in agricultural products,
medical devices, medicine, wood, and humanitarian items to Cuba," he said.

Noting that sanctions are one part of the US policy approach to Cuba,
Kelly said in recent months the Obama Administration have reached out to
the Cuban people.

"We have taken steps to promote the free flow of information, we have
lifted restrictions on family visits, and we have expanded the kinds and
amounts of humanitarian items that the American people can donate to
Cuba," he said.

"We have also taken steps to establish a more constructive dialogue with
Cuba. We have re-established dialogues on migration, and we have
initiated talks to reestablish direct mail service," Kelly said.

Kelly said the Obama Administration remains focused on the need for
improved human rights conditions and respect for fundamental freedoms in
Cuba. "We would need to see improvements in those areas before we could
normalize relations with Havana," he said.

Responding to a question, the State Department spokesman said the Obama
Administration believes that it is not the right time to lift sanctions.

"We do not think it's time to lift that embargo. We will consider that
when the Government of Cuba starts to make some positive steps towards
loosening up its repression of its own people," Kelly said.

The Obama Administration's policy on Cuba is designed to try and move
the country to doing the right thing towards its own people, he argued.

"They have not taken the kind of steps to show us that they are willing
to open up their society and open up their economy
. And until they do these things, we are not willing to change our
policy," he said.

"We are looking to try and put our relationship with Cuba on a more
productive path," Kelly said.

Bureau Report

Suggestion that US is not assisting Cuba is false: Obama Admin (29
October 2009)

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