Cuba says it is ready for dialogue with EU without pressure

Campaign News | Sunday, 6 March 2005

Foreign Minister to visit France and Belgium

Brussels March 6: - Cuba's EU Ambassador Rodrigo Malmierca on May 5 affirmed that the Cuban government is ready to start dialogues with the European Union (EU), but without coming under any pressure or being subject to any sanctions from the latter.

Speaking at a workshop on European-Cuban relations in Brussels, Ambassador Malmierca said Cuba and the EU are two natural partners for historical reasons, for strategic interests, and for economic relations. He added that Cuba is serious about developing its relations with the EU but not at any cost.

The Cuba-EU relations grew tense in mid-2003 after the EU imposed retaliatory diplomatic sanctions against Cuba to protest Cuba's conviction of 75 people labeled as "US mercenaries" and execution of three others who had hijacked a ferry with the aim of illegally crossing to the US.

Cuba responded with diplomatic retaliations against EU-member countries' embassies in Havana. Bilateral ties started to improve early this year when Cuba unilaterally resumed formal contacts with 25 member countries of the EU and the latter decided to waive its sanctions against Cuba until this July.

Next week, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque is expected to travel to France and Belgium to meet with officials from the European Parliament and the European Committee.

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