EU defies US to end sanctions

Campaign News | Saturday, 21 June 2008

The European Union voted to remove its diplomatic sanctions against Cuba despite opposition from the United States.

Leading up to the vote, US State Department Deputy spokesman Tom Casey said. "We would not be supportive of the EU or anyone else easing those restrictions at this time."

Spain led the push inside the European Union to drop the sanctions. Commenting on the vote, Spain's foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, said, "The United States has its policy on Cuba. We don't share it ... In the end, we have our interests and our autonomy in foreign policy."

The vote follows five years of sustained pressure by UK campaigners on the UK government to normalise its relations with Cuba. This week, more than 130 MPs had already signed Early Day Motion 1405 calling for an end to sanctions, and in March, 20 trade union General Secretaries signed an open letter to the Foreign Secretary David Milliband calling for a break with US policies and better relations with Cuba.

CSC Director Rob Miller said: “The Cuba Solidarity Campaign, its members, supporters, MPs and the British trade union movement have worked hard to pressure the government to change its position on Cuba. We are grateful to everyone who helped to influence the UK’s vote on Monday, despite years of aggressive lobbying by the Bush administration. We now need to keep up this pressure to ensure the UK government follows this vote through with concrete action to improve diplomatic and trading links with Cuba."

Guardian report at:

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