Cuban ambassador to Austria criticises CzechRep's stand on Cuba

Campaign News | Friday, 23 February 2007

US is plotting with European countries says envoy

Vienna, Feb 22 - Cuban ambassador to Austria Norma Goicochea criticised the Czech Republic saying it is one of the EU countries that pursue "the EU's Latin American strategy that is close to the USA," in a meeting with journalists today, the Austrian news agency APA has reported.

She said that Cuba is afraid that the U.S. Administration of President George W. Bush is planning to topple the Cuban regime and that it wants to engage the EU in it.

Goicochea said that the Czech Republic is the leading force of the EU countries that want to push through the EU a Cuban policy close to the USA.

She said that the EU governments siding with the United States support a strategy that disrespects the Human Rights Charter and the right to self-determination and sovereignty of states, and bears clear signs of interference.

These countries include besides the Czech Republic also Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, Goicochea said.

Cuba accused EU countries of preparing a new plot against the "island of freedom" in early February already.

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg then dismissed similar information as "an attempt to divide the European countries before the EU approves a medium- and long-term strategy on Cuba."

Goicochea conceded today that Cuba does not have documents about the EU's possible future strategy on Cuba that would be pushing through an anti-Cuba policy based on the alleged U.S. programme.

She, however, referred to unofficial information and said that Bush's plan contains "a secret addendum that we do not know," but which could contain "terrorist" as well as "military actions."

Goicochea warned that if the EU approves the strategy, the new "difficult situation" could also harm bilateral relations of particular EU states with Cuba.

"Cuba wishes to conduct an open dialogue with the Europeans," she said and added that it should be based on mutual respect.

The EU imposed diplomatic sanctions on Cuba in 2003 in protest against the execution of three hijackers who wanted to get to the United States, and against the high sentences Cuban authorities imposed on more than 70 dissidents.

Havana then froze relations with the respective European countries' diplomats. The relations officially changed only in January 2005 when the EU suspended the sanctions.

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