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Powell Opposes UN Criticism of US

March 12, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States wants to delete criticism of the U.S. embargo of Cuba from an anti-Cuba resolution being considered at a U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting next week, the State Department said Monday.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, seeking a tough resolution against President Fidel Castro’s rights record, is intervening personally to remove the anti-embargo language.

Spokesman Richard Boucher said Monday that Powell discussed the matter in a weekend telephone conversation with Czech President Vaclav Havel. The Czech Republic is a chief sponsor of the resolution. The United States, Boucher said, believes the resolution ``should be quite clear about the human rights situation in Cuba, and it should not mix in other factors such as economic issues.″

The commission generally has approved anti-Cuba resolutions in recent years. Until now the measures have avoided reference to the four-decades-old U.S. embargo, which is opposed by a large majority of nations.

The commission opens its annual meeting in Geneva next week.

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