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EU-Cuba thaw 'real prospect' after Spain's lead

brussels bureau

EU-Cuba thaw 'real prospect' after Spain's lead


Following an agreement by Spain and Cuba to normalise bilateral relations, next perhaps will come a real political dialogue between Cuba and the whole European Union; That is the wish expressed by the European Commission. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, after signing agreements with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, said he hoped his visit would lead to a thaw in relations between Havana and Brussels.

A Commission spokesman said: “That Cuba accepts a dialogue which includes human rights subjects is in itself a positive step, and therefore very satisfying. We hope that this development opens up a broader dialogue – not only bilateral but also at the European level.”

At the end of his visit on Tuesday, Moratinos met Cuba’s acting President Raul Castro, younger brother of veteran leader Fidel Castro. The Spaniard was the most senior EU government official to visit the one-party Communist island since its 2003 crackdown on dissent.

A first bilateral meeting on human rights is scheduled for the end of May. The EU is split over Cuba. Spain favors constructive engagement, while other EU member states want to keep up pressure for political change in Havana. Perez Roque ruled out political talks with the bloc until it scraps its “Common Position” seeking democracy in Cuba.

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