EU seeks normalization of relations with Cuba

10th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

The European Union hopes to normalize relations with Cuba after Raul Castro took over power in the communist island last month from his brother and long-time leader Fidel Castro, according to a joint statement Sunday.

10 March 2008

HAVANA - The European Union hopes to normalize relations with Cuba after Raul Castro took over power in the communist island last month from his brother and long-time leader Fidel Castro, according to a joint statement Sunday.

EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel and Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said the two sides would work to remove all European sanctions on Cuba in order to pave the way for normalizing ties.

The statement called the 2003 sanctions - imposed after Cuba imprisoned 75 dissidents two years earlier - the "principal obstacle" to creating a political dialogue and said they should be "eliminated definitively."

Michel, who was visiting Havana, said lifting the sanctions would require the unanimous consent of all 27 EU members and would be presented to them next week.

Poor health forced Fidel Castro to give up power to his brother Raul in August 2006. Raul Castro formally became president last month after Fidel declined to stand for another term.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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