Geingob lauds Obama, Castro for easing political tension

30 Sep 2015 14:30pm

By Maggy Thomas UNITED NATIONS, 30 SEP (NAMPA) -

President Hage Geingob described the improvement of relations between Cuba and the United States of America (USA) as encouraging.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Geingob said the thawing of relations between Cuba and the USA is one of the positive developments on the geo-political landscape.

He said for the past 25 years, Namibia has continuously called on the USA and Cuba to 'walk the 15 miles of peaceful co-existence'.

The Namibian Head of State applauded the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries as well as the laudable efforts of the two leaders for easing political tension.

"We commend both countries for realising that their differences are best addressed through engagement rather than estrangement," he stated.

He however said he hopes these laudable efforts will be followed by the unconditional lifting of the embargo imposed on the people of Cuba.

A USA trade and commercial embargo on Cuba was imposed on 19 October 1960, almost two years after the Cuban Revolution deposed the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Batista between 1952 and 1959 suspended the country's constitution and revoked various rights of the people in the interests of the wealthy.

The embargo affected exports to Cuba, except food and medicine, after Cuba nationalised American-owned Cuban oil refineries without compensation.

US President Barack Obama entered office in January 2009 with intentions to reverse some of the restrictions on remittances and travel set on Cuba by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama also lifted other resrictions on telecommunication services from US companies to Cuba and US citizens are now allowed to visit Cuba for educational or religious purposes.

Last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Havana, Cuba to watch marines hoist the US flag at the American Embassy there, a move marking the ceremonial re-opening of the facility as part of broader U.S.-Cuba re-engagement.

The embassy reopening will allow more Americans to travel to Cuba and give Cubans increased access to the US Embassy in Havana. But, Congress would still need to lift the US trade embargo on Cuba for them to see significant change.

On the United Nations (UN) reforms, Geingob said Namibia remains committed to the comprehensive reforms of the UN in a bid to strengthen the organisation and make it more efficient and responsive to the needs of all its members.

He said over 70 years of UN existence, the world has evolved and new issues and challenges have emerged. "It is therefore proper for our organisation, the UN, to reposition itself to deal with these dynamic changes," he said.

Geingob noted that the reforms of the UN System should be guided by the principles of democracy, equity, justice and fairness for all. In reference to the reform of the UN Security Council, the president said Namibia fully supports the African Common Position as enunciated in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration and as reaffirmed by the 25th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union.

The Common African Position on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations (also called the Ezulwini Consensus) was adopted by the African Union in March 2005 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It calls for a more representative and democratic Security Council, in which Africa, like all other world regions, is represented. 'The continent of Africa deserves to be fairly and equitably represented on the Security Council in order to rectify the long historical injustice endured by a continent of over one billion people,' Geingob noted.