No change in EU stance on Cuba: Spanish foreign minister

Campaign News | Monday, 24 April 2006

Reverse is "unthinkable," says Moratinos

MADRID, Spain April 24: There is no prospect of the European Union changing its attitude towards Cuba, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Saturday.

"A reverse in the EU's policy is unthinkable," he said in an interview with the conservative daily newspaper ABC.

"But Cuba should take into account that it has to go further and that if it makes a positive gesture, we shall be able to improve its relations with the EU.

A US-financed "Cuba - democracy now" movement has been calling for the resignation of Moratinos. It is made up of dissident and exiled Cubans in Europe and has condemned the Spanish socialist government's pursuit of a "strategy doomed to failure".

"Repression has increased and so has the number of political prisoners," it said in a statement.

Since taking office in 2004, the Socialist government has called for the lifting of diplomatic sanctions imposed by the EU a year earlier in response to the jailing of 75 dissidents.

At the time, Spanish conservative prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, who had close links with the Cuban mafia in Miami, was in power and urged the imposition of the measures.

In June the EU is due to reexamine the sanctions, renewed on a six-monthly basis.

"We are in contact with the Cuban authorities to see if we can improve global relations," Moratinos said, hinting that the issue might be discussed at the fourth EU-Latin America summit due to take place in Vienna on May 11 and 12.

"We shall see how things turn out at the Vienna meeting," Moratinos said, arguing that the socialist government's attitude towards Cuba since it took office had produced "better results" than that of its predecessor.

"What more we can get will depend on dilaogue and working together."

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