Dutch FM wants to keep Cuba relations low-key
Relations between the Netherlands and Cuba should not extend beyond diplomatic contact through embassies, Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal told parliament today.
The minister said open dialogue with the Cuban authorities was not justified because Cuban leaders had failed to implement any significant political or economic reforms.
The Netherlands has not paid any official visits to Cuba since 2003. Mr Rosenthal said he wants to uphold contacts with rights organisations, the “peaceful opposition” and bodies that stimulate trade.
The Dutch government, which encourages more freedom and economic prosperity in Cuba, regards the EU as the most suitable channel for supporting reforms.
In the past few months, Cuba has released 126 political prisoners. Agreement to release the prisoners came in July 2010 following talks between President Raul Castro, Havana's Roman Catholic Archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, and Spanish officials.
“While this is a positive step in the right direction, political and basic human rights are still at a low level,” Minister Rosenthal said.
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