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Cuba, EU re-establish cooperative ties

Posted by smeddum on October 26, 2008

Cuba, EU re-establish cooperative ties 2008-10-24 09:31:45

HAVANA, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) — Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque and European Commissioner of Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, signed a declaration on Thursday to restore the bilateral cooperation at the headquarters of the Cuban Foreign Ministry in Havana.

During the meeting both sides hailed the restoration of the bilateral ties, which are based on the principle of reciprocal and non-discriminatory treatment, with respect for each other’s sovereignty.

Michel said he was pleased with the agreement, and reaffirmed the European Union (EU)’s intentions to strengthen ties with Cuba.

He also announced an emergency aid worth 2 million euros (2.6 million U.S. dollars) to help Cuba recover from hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which have produced more than 5 billion dollars in losses.

The EU will also provide 25 million to 30 million euros (32.5 million and 39 million dollars) to Cuba from next year to rebuild schools and damaged houses.

The EU has a “very strong willingness to make the best efforts” to reestablish the cooperation with Cuba, Michel said.

The agreement is an important step forward toward the normalization and advancement of the bilateral ties, as well as the beginning of a new stage for their relations, Perez said.

In 2003, the EU imposed sanctions on Cuba, which were suspended in 2005 and were totally lifted at the EU summit in June 2008.

The EU delegation arrived here on Wednesday and will stay in Cuba till Sunday for meetings with Cuban leaders. It will also visit hurricane-hit regions in the Caribbean country.

Michel’s visit came one week after the restart of the political dialogue between both sides during a ministerial meeting in Paris.

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