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SVG decries Cuba terrorism label

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The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has told the United Nations of its objections to Cuba being labelled “a state sponsor of terrorism”.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves voiced the objection as the addressed the United Nations General Assembly on September 28.

Gonsalves told world leaders that SVG “is firm and unequivocal in our rejection of all forms of terrorist activity, and in our revulsion at the methods and twisted logic that accompany this barbarism”.

He said the United States is often “unfortunately and disproportionately targeted by these repulsive killers.”

He described as “deeply saddening”, the murder in Libya in September of Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to that Arab nation, and some members of his staff.

“We support unreservedly the United States’ determination to bring Ambassador Stevens’ killers to justice,” Gonsalves said.

“At the same time, we are baffled at the continued reference to the Republic of Cuba in some quarters as a state sponsor of terrorism,” he further said.

“The undisputed evidence is that Cuba neither supports nor harbours terrorists of any type. Indeed, the Cuban government — itself a victim of orchestrated terror campaigns — has cooperated on numerous occasions with the governments of both its allies and ideological opponents in the fight against terrorism.”

Gonsalves further said Cuba, the western hemisphere’s only communist state, has also played “a useful and constructive role in facilitating peace talks between governments and armed rebel groups in Latin America.

“These facts are not contested. As such, to label Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, in any context, is to cheapen our shared global struggle against that insidious scourge,” said Gonsalves, whose government has close ties with Havana.

He said former Cuba president Fidel Castro told the United Nations General Assembly in 1960 that “hysteria can go to any length; hysteria is capable of making the most unlikely and absurd claims.”

Gonsalves added: “This particular absurd and unlikely claim, like the absurdity that undergirds the continued economic embargo against Cuba, is one that is best abandoned.”

Taiwan

Gonsalves further called for Taiwan’s greater participation in UN bodies.

“The fascinating rapprochement unfolding across the Taiwan straits between the Peoples’ Republic of China and the Republic of China-Taiwan, lends practical weight to the reasonable and overdue call for Taiwan’s participation in the specialised agencies of the United Nations.

“My country, and several others in the Caribbean and Central America, bear testimony to Taiwan’s principled conduct of its inter-governmental relations. Surely, the time has now come for this exemplar of the magnificent Chinese civilization to be permitted to participate in the work of various agencies of this world body,” he said.

Relations between Taipei and Beijing — which considers Taiwan a renegade province rather than an independent country — have become less confrontational since the Ma Ying-jeou government came to office in Taiwan in 2008. (kentonchance@searchligt.vc)

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