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EU formally renews ties with Cuba


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EU formally renews ties with Cuba

By Michael Voss

BBC News, Havana

The EU and Cuba have formally restored ties, five years after the EU imposed diplomatic sanctions on the island following mass arrests of dissidents.

European Commissioner Louis Michel said the accord he signed with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque was "a turning point for EU-Cuban relations".

Mr Perez Roque welcomed its respect for the island's political independence.

It will now receive 2m euros ($2.6m) of emergency hurricane recovery aid, with 30m euros ($38.9m) available next year.

An EU delegation will return to Cuba in November to determine the needs and priorities for the financing to be made available in 2009.

Political dialogue

The two recent hurricanes which swept through Cuba in late August and early September - Ike and Gustav - caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

Yet Cuba's communist authorities refused all offers of aid not just from the US but the EU as well - a sign of just how strained relations had become.

Now following a signing ceremony in Havana, Cuba and the EU have agreed to resume co-operation.

A joint declaration, signed by Cuba's foreign minister and the European commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, calls for respect for Cuba's political independence and non-intervention in its internal affairs.

However, according to Mr Michel, the Cuban government has agreed to resume political dialogue in which "no subjects will be taboo".

This should open the way for future talks on issues such as democracy, human rights and political prisoners.

Mr Michel also announced an aid package of up to 30m euros for hurricane reconstruction.

Full story, source: BBC

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EU formally renews ties with Cuba

By Michael Voss

BBC News, Havana

The EU and Cuba have formally restored ties, five years after the EU imposed diplomatic sanctions on the island following mass arrests of dissidents.

European Commissioner Louis Michel said the accord he signed with Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque was "a turning point for EU-Cuban relations".

Mr Perez Roque welcomed its respect for the island's political independence.

It will now receive 2m euros ($2.6m) of emergency hurricane recovery aid, with 30m euros ($38.9m) available next year.

An EU delegation will return to Cuba in November to determine the needs and priorities for the financing to be made available in 2009.

Political dialogue

The two recent hurricanes which swept through Cuba in late August and early September - Ike and Gustav - caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

Yet Cuba's communist authorities refused all offers of aid not just from the US but the EU as well - a sign of just how strained relations had become.

Now following a signing ceremony in Havana, Cuba and the EU have agreed to resume co-operation.

A joint declaration, signed by Cuba's foreign minister and the European commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, calls for respect for Cuba's political independence and non-intervention in its internal affairs.

However, according to Mr Michel, the Cuban government has agreed to resume political dialogue in which "no subjects will be taboo".

This should open the way for future talks on issues such as democracy, human rights and political prisoners.

Mr Michel also announced an aid package of up to 30m euros for hurricane reconstruction.

Full story, source: BBC

Now that the Neo-cons are soon to be out of office we're starting to see diplomacy at work.

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Finally. Maybe the U.S. can do the same thing, you know, restore ties w/ Cuba, but I wouldn't think that would happen anytime soon.

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Finally. Maybe the U.S. can do the same thing, you know, restore ties w/ Cuba, but I wouldn't think that would happen anytime soon.

Depends on the Cuban vote in Florida, if the majority of them vote Dem (as projected) then there will be an American ambassador in Cuba within the next few years. If they vote Rep they'll keep on using it as a bargaining chip and nothing will happen.

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I seriously hope they recognize Cuba as some point soon, regardless of what the ex-pat community in south Florida thinks. The embargo hasn't worked to topple the Cuban government for more than 40 years (much less push them towards democratization), and we recognize some bad characters in international affairs anyways. We might as well lift the embargo and travel restrictions, and let Cuba become a massive tourist attraction (especially with Mexico so violent right now).

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Nice to see part of the UK's donation to the EU being spent on worthy causes outside of the EU. unelected EU globe trotters spreading their influence.

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