EFE: Spain: Any EU Talks with Cuba to Include Human Rights
- Spain: Any EU Talks with Cuba to Include Human Rights
MADRID � Spain�s foreign minister confirmed Tuesday that the European Union �could not remain halted� in the face of the �movement for change� begun in Cuba with the release of political prisoners and he guaranteed that any dialogue with Havana will include human rights as a �fundamental pillar.�
Trinidad Jimenez praised the EU decision to task its top foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, with establishing political contacts with Cuba with the aim of exploring possible ways to advance the bilateral relationship.
In the full session of the Spanish Senate and in response to a question from fellow Socialist Jose Carracao, the minister backed the idea of maintaining a diplomatic approach that is �prudent, demanding, active and committed, at the same time that it is critical.�
After recalling the unfruitful results of blocking political contacts with the Cuban government for more than a decade, Jimenez supported undertaking an �intense and critical� dialogue without leaving any issue to the side, �no matter how uncomfortable it may be for one of the parties.�
In Jimenez�s judgment, the objective of the EU must be to replace a framework of relations based on unilateral actions, which has always been viewed by Cuba as an imposition, with one that is bilateral.
�This does not imply that human rights or other questions are going to be absent from the conversations with Cuba. The question of human rights is a fundamental pillar of European and Spanish policy and any accord resulting from the decision taken by the EU always will include the necessary clauses regarding human rights,� Jimenez insisted.
On Oct. 25, foreign ministers of the EU�s 27 member-states decided to maintain the �common position� policy toward Cuba, which since 1996 has linked European-Cuban relations to progress in human rights and democratization on the communist-ruled island.
Since the beginning of July, the Cuban government has released dozens of political prisoners as part of a Madrid-supported dialogue with the island�s Catholic hierarchy. EFE