EU should revise position on Cuba: Netherlands FM

7th January 2014, Comments 3 comments

The European Union should seek to strengthen ties with Cuba, Netherlands Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said Tuesday during a two-day visit to the Communist-run Caribbean nation.

"Throughout the centuries, Cuba has been a meeting point for Europeans and Americans and I believe that Cuba still has a role to play between Europe and the Americas," Timmermans said during a meeting with Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.

"I believe that dialogue between the European Union, the Netherlands and Cuba is extremely important for the development of the region," he added.

After meeting with the Vice-President of Cuba's Council of Ministers, Ricardo Cabrisas, Timmermans added that the EU should update its position on Cuba.

"I think it's time for Europe to revise its position on Cuba and negotiate a new position," he said.

The EU suspended links with Cuba in 2003 after a crackdown which saw 75 dissidents thrown into jail. All of those jailed have since been released.

Since dialogue between the EU and Cuba resumed in 2008, several bilateral agreements have been reached between Havana and around 15 members of the EU, which maintains a stance adopted in 1996 linking relations to improvements in human rights in the country.

The Netherlands had a "special interest in strengthening bilateral relations" with Cuba following reforms launched three years ago by Cuban President Raul Castro, Timmermans added.

The Netherlands is the second biggest European business partner of Cuba, behind Spain, with deals worth $792 million in 2012, according to Cuban figures.

© 2014 AFP

3 Comments To This Article

  • Ozzie posted:

    on 8th January 2014, 21:21:15 - Reply

    This Timmerman Minister is as wrong as he could be. Cuba, one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean, thanks to its absurd communism is at the same time one of the highest Violators of Human Rights in the world. Until the Castro brothers are not dead and undertaken, it should not even be considered to give Cuba a different treatment than the given for the last 60 years of Abusive "Revolutiom". Cuba is currently invading the sovereignity of Venezuela. The Venezuelan Dictator Chavez gave Cuba tremendous amounts of currency and dirty business deals to be exploited by the Castro brothers. Did you know that Venezuela gives oil for free to Cuba in order for it to be sold by the Caribbean Country allowing them to enter the Petroleum Business? All this is a strategy to bring Cuba on the spot light to build ties with countries like The Netherlands where money is more important than the truth behind the curtain..
  • Roland posted:

    on 8th January 2014, 20:14:51 - Reply

    Is Timmerman an advocate for human rights or for better business relations to improve the Netherland's #2 ranking? A look at his past record may reveal the reality of his decision.
  • Michael Kadin posted:

    on 8th January 2014, 13:46:22 - Reply

    Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, is again mistaken, to renew ties with a poor human rights record Cuba and previous with Abu Dhabi and its poor human rights record and wanting them to allow a Jew to practice soccer. This and most of the Middle East will not allow any person with an Israeli passport to enter Maybe its time the present Timmermans,consider resigning.