Human rights key to review of Cuba ties: EU

May 14th, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Prague, May 14 (DPA) Cuba’s attitude to human rights will play the key role in the upcoming European Union’s review of the bloc’s position on relations with the communist island state, an EU official said Thursday.
The evaluation “will depend on the manner with which Cuba approaches human rights”, said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, whose country chairs the EU until June 30.

On Monday in Brussels, Cuba asked the EU to normalise relations but was rejected over human rights concerns.

Kohout said that he also met with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Parilla during the EU’s Prague-based meeting with Latin American countries on Wednesday.

The EU lifted previous light sanctions against Cuba, imposed over arrests of dissidents in 2003, nearly a year ago after Raul Castro took over control of the country from his ageing brother Fidel.

However, divisions among the bloc’s 27 members on how to deal with Cuba have lead to a compromise under which EU leaders decided to annually assess their common position on Cuba.

That next review is now due in June.

Kohout said that it was too early to say whether the current “mutual development of political dialogue” between Cuba and the EU would cause the bloc to change its stance in June.

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