Cuba agrees to resume political dialogue with EU
rahul | September 17, 2008 at 06:58 pmby
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After the EU lifted sanctions on Cuba last June, bilateral relations keep improving.
HAVANA (AFP) -- The Cuban government accepted the resumption of political dialogue with the European Union (EU) Tuesday, the EU representative in Havana, Javier Nino, told AFP. The move follows the EU's lifting of sanctions on Cuba in June this year. "The Cuban government agrees to begin dialogue. (...) The EU proposal is an unconditional dialogue, mutual benefit, mutual respect on a number of issues such as rights and environmental issues,"" said Nino. The representative said the Cuban Foreign Ministry announced acceptance of the proposal in a note handed from the ministry to the French Embassy, the country currently holding the EU presidency.
""At this moment the two sides are negotiating over when (plans for) the dialogue can be firmed up, but ideally it will be relatively soon,"" said Nino. He said no date or venue had been set. EU-Cuba relations were frozen in 2003 when the EU imposed sanctions on the island nation in retaliation for the imprisonment of more than 70 dissidents, and the execution of three men convicted of hijacking a passenger ferry and demanding it be taken to the United States. After a 2005 initiative from Spain to normalize relations, the EU moved definitively on June 19 to establish ""political dialogue"" and encourage changes carried out by Raul Castro's government. The EU's requirements for the suspension of sanctions include an annual review of relations, ""improvement of the human rights situation"" and the ""release of political prisoners, including detainees imprisoned in 2003.""
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