|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.44, 29.11.01, p4|
Formal talks between the EU and Cuba will resume tomorrow (30 November), more than a year after Fidel Castro's government told an EU delegation it would not be welcome in Havana because the Union had backed US criticism of the regime's human rights record.
Belgium is hailing the restoration of political dialogue between the EU and Cuba, stalled since 1996, as a foreign policy success for its stint at the Union helm. It follows a high-profile visit by Foreign Minister Louis Michel to the island in August and other contact between him and Cuban counterpart Felipe Perez Roqué.
Last year the Castro administration underscored its fury at the EU support for a motion berating it for suppressing political dissent and imprisoning "counter-revolutionaries" by cancelling a planned EU mission to the island.
Since then, however, it has improved bilateral relations with some member states, including Germany, although the UK has been reluctant to develop closer ties with a country considered a "rogue state" in Washington.
A spokesman for Michel said the minister had considered travelling to Cuba this weekend but felt it would be "more appropriate" if Jan de Bock, the secretary-general of his department, heads the delegation.
The agenda will include the fight against terrorism. A US government official said: "We had no consultations with the EU about the upcoming trip. We hope that the EU will continue to meet with a range of political figures in Cuba, including the opposition and human rights activists."
Formal talks between the EU and Cuba will resume on 30 November 2001, more than a year after Fidel Castro's government told an EU delegation it would not be welcome in Havana because the Union had backed US criticism of the regime's human rights record.
|Countries / Regions||Caribbean|