Minister says he would like US policy change

Campaign News | Friday, 20 February 2009

Mary Minihan writes in the Irish Times

THE MINISTER for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, has said he would like to see a change in US policy towards Cuba.

Speaking during an official visit to the island, the Minister said “an evolution in policy” would be a good thing, according to a transcript of his remarks provided by Radio Habana Cuba.

“I don’t propose to tell the American administration how to proceed but certainly from our view and our background we believe that dialogue and contact are important and for the welfare of the people both in Cuba and the United States, it would be a good thing to see a change in policy and an evolution in policy,” he said.

Diplomatic relations between Ireland and Cuba were established 10 years ago, and Mr Martin is the first Minister to travel there in an official capacity.

Yesterday, following a meeting with Cuban officials, Mr Martin said the fundamental purpose of his visit was to strengthen relations between Ireland and Cuba.

“In particular, we believe, on the cultural, political and indeed on the economic side we can strengthen and expand that relationship,” he said.

“I am also of the view that my visit represents a further contribution to the developing and evolving relationship between the European Union and Cuba.”

Mr Martin has told Cuban foreign minister Felipe Pérez Roque that Ireland is opposed to the ongoing US embargo of Cuba.

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