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Conclusions from the Council of the European Union Meeting on Cuba

2007-06-30 / People in Need

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU member states have met on June 18, 2007 in Luxembourg in the annual revision of the EU Common Position towards Cuba. The discussion among member states on the position and mainly on the “June measures” was difficult and it lead to adoption of Council Conclusion which supplement the text of Common Position.

The text of the Conclusions in pdf format.

The Council noted that general political and economic situation in Cuba remained unchanged after the temporary transfer of power from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul and several other leaders. The Council reiterated its call on the Cuban government to release unconditionally all political prisoners, to adopt reform which would lead to improvement of the living conditions of all Cubans and to grant to its citizens freedom of expression. The conclusions stated that the EU would be ready to resume a comprehensive dialog between the EU and Cuba but that it should be subject to the verification of progress in the field of human rights. These conclusions should be seen as positive, because the June measures have remained as part of the Common Position (although suspended) until June 2008 and they include more direct criticism of the Cuban regime. However, these conclusions do not represent a significant change in EU policy towards Cuba even though they allow more space for work with individual ministries of foreign affairs of the EU member states. In addition, the European Parliament approved an urgent resolution about Cuba's human rights record, “which stipulated that protecting the universality and the indivisibility of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, remains one of the European Union's main objectives.” Furthermore, the resolution (B6-0250/2007) spoke directed towards Spanish foreign minister Moratinos’ visit by stating that “high-level visits to Havana should include meetings with both the Cuban authorities and the peaceful democratic opposition and civil society, and that the human rights situation should be an obligatory subject of discussion.” It also expressed the European Parliament’s positions of support for the creation of a multi-party democracy in Cuba; called for the release of political prisoners and addressed the need for freedom of travel for Oswaldo Payas and the Ladies in White. Lastly, the European Parliament stated that this Common Position would not be looked at for another year meaning that the diplomatic sanctions will stay at place until at least June 2008.

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