Diplomats: U.S. Expected to Abstain on U.N. Vote on Cuba Embargo

U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro shake hands during their first meeting on the second day of Obama's visit to Cuba, in Havana March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro shake hands during Obama’s visit to Cuba, in Havana in March. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Diplomats say the United States 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 United Nations, against the Republican-led Congress, which supports the 55-year-old embargo despite the United States’ resumption of full diplomatic relations with Cuba.

The diplomats say the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, will explain the decision shortly before the General Assembly vote Wednesday.

The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The U.S. has always voted against the annual resolution condemning the embargo.

An abstention would be in keeping with the administration’s position that the embargo should be lifted as part normalization relations with Cuba.