Madrid and Havana in talks on human rights

14th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 March 2005, MADRID-Human rights are expected to be on the agenda during talks between Cuba's foreign minister and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

14 March 2005

MADRID-Human rights are expected to be on the agenda during talks between Cuba's foreign minister and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Felipe Perez Roque, who was originally set to meet only with Spanish foreign affairs minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, will also meet with Spanish King Juan Carlos.

In a conciliatory tone in Strasbourg last week, Roque offered to make "clear gestures" towards the EU if it would refrain from criticising Cuba at the next session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Relations with Spain deteriorated two years ago after Cuba rounded up 75 opponents of Castro's regime, executed three Cubans found guilty of hijacking a ferry, and sentenced others to terms as high as 28 years in prison.

The European Union, under pressure from its member Spain, responded with sanctions, which were temporarily suspended for six months in January after Castro's regime released some dissidents including writer and journalist Raul Rivero.

This progress has been seen as a sign of success for Zapatero's policy of  dialogue both with Fidel Castro's government and Cuba's political dissidents to promote democracy and improve human rights in Cuba.

Diplomatic sources here said the question of human rights would undoubtedly be on the agenda during the talks in Madrid.

Roque's visit to Madrid is part of a European tour which began last Tuesday in Strasbourg, home of the European Parliament, the elected assembly of the 25-member European Union, and continued to Brussels, the EU headquarters.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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