The Netherlands has broken ranks with the European Union by signing a deal to open political talks and trade ties with Cuba.
The agreement was signed by Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who urged his European counterparts to adjust their relationship with Havana.
A delegation of businessmen accompanied Timmermans on his visit, the first by a Dutch foreign minister since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
His counterpart Bruno Rodriguez said he welcomed the opportunity to hold talks on issues of common interest and that changes underway on the island represented an opportunity for Dutch business.
“The processes that occur in the Cuban economic system constitute an opportunity for the Dutch companies. At the same time, I reiterate the willingness of our foreign ministry to maintain continuous interchange on issues of common interest,” said Rodriguez.
The European Union adopted what is known as the “common position” in 1996, which conditions its relations with Cuba to progress towards a pluralistic political system and respect for human rights.