Obama calls to end decades-old embargo on Cuba

  • 29/09/2015
US President Barack Obama (Reuters)
US President Barack Obama (Reuters)

President Barack Obama has called for ending the decades-old US embargo on Cuba, in his address to the UN General Assembly.

Obama said he was confident that the US Congress will "inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore," drawing applause from the 193-nation assembly on Monday.

Washington and Havana reestablished diplomatic relations in July after more than half a century of enmity.

But the US embargo, which has been in place since 1960, remains a bone of contention as the Republican-held Congress baulks at the administration's move to end the blockade.

Obama acknowledged that Washington's Cuba policy had "failed to improve the lives of the Cuban people" but stressed that human rights remained a concern in relations with Havana.

Obama spoke ahead of Cuban leader Raul Castro's first address to the UN General Assembly and a meeting is planned Tuesday between the two leaders, only the second since the thaw in relations.