THE US embargo against Cuba is preventing the Communist government from opening its economy and introducing more political reforms, according to a new report by the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
UN investigator Carl-Johan Groth said international encouragement rather than outside pressure would be most effective in prompting President Fidel Castro Ruz to change policy.
Mr. Groth, a Swedish diplomat, said ``excessive control'' by Cuban institutional machinery continued to lead to a ``systematic violation'' of basic rights. He said tentative reforms introduced by Mr. Castro in a bid to shore up the collapsing economy were ``being curbed by ideological and political factors, in particular anything that entails limitation of governmental control.
``In addition the economic, commercial, and financial embargo maintained by the United States is curbing greater liberalization of the economy,'' he said. ``The embargo against Cuba is creating political barriers to more far-reaching action at a time when the urgent reactivation of the economy is necessary from a humanitarian ... human rights perspective.''
The report was based primarily on interviews with exiles and rights groups in the US as well as written testimony from groups inside Cuba. Havana denied Groth access to the country for the second straight year. The US imposed the embargo against the Communist government more than 30 years ago. Nigeria and Cameroon mobilize troops
A SMALL peninsula dotted with sleepy fishing villages and surrounded by oil reserves has pushed Nigeria and its smaller neighbor, Cameroon, to the brink of military confrontation. Both West African nations have sent troops to the Bakassi peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean.
Nigeria has accused Cameroon of driving out thousands of Nigerian fisherman, killing six, and looting their boats. It has sent 1,000 troops to augment the 500 Nigerian soldiers already on the peninsula. Cameroon denies the charges, but claims the peninsula and three nearby islands. Nigerian Foreign Minister Baba Gana Kingibe, after failing to reach an accord during a visit to Cameroon last month, said his country would take any measures to maintain control of the region.
The dispute is symbolic of the legacy of the European colonists who drew Africa's borders and frequently changed them, splitting many ethnic groups and communities into different nations and forcing longtime rivals into common boundaries. The discovery of oil in the region in the 1970s raised the stakes considerably, and the two nations almost went to war in 1981 over the alleged death of five Nigerian soldiers on the peninsula.
Progress on Mideast multilaterals
ARAB and Israeli negotiators are eager to ``increase the pace and the scope'' of discussions on water, refugees, and arms control, says Dan Kurtzer, US deputy assistant secretary of State for the Middle East. But the multilateral talks cannot move any faster than parallel talks on peace and security.
Mr. Kurtzer said the fact that Syria and Lebanon are boycotting the multilateral talks should not hold up progress on regional issues. The multilateral negotiations, separate from the bilateral peace talks, focus on broad regional problems that the parties would confront if peace is achieved between Israel and the Arabs.
All parties, Kurtzer said, ``insist that the core issues of this conflict be addressed before a more normal relationship develops between them.'' Nonetheless, he said, the parties to the multilateral talks have ``begun to insist that ... more visible activity be undertaken, which would address specific problems and begin to be seen by the peoples of the region as meeting their concerns.''
He said the parties want the steering group, which includes the US, to ``increase the pace and the scope of the working groups'' examining various issues.