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Spain, Cuba renew talks.

Cuba and Spain renewed ties damaged by Havana's 2003 crackdown on dissidents, who saw little hope in the bilateral agreement to discuss human rights and to reinstate Spanish aid, reports AFP (April 4,2007):

The deals were struck during a visit by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose government has spearheaded efforts to revive European Union-Cuban relations hurt by Havana's jailing of 75 dissidents four years ago. Moratinos and Cuban counterpart Felipe Perez Roque signed a document creating a forum for political consultations, to include it says, "the promotion and protection of all human rights for everyone and to contribute to effective, constructive and non-discriminatory treatment of the problem in international forums." The Cuban foreign minister said the talks had not touched on the thorny subject of Cuban political prisoners. "This is not a matter we discuss with other countries," he said;

Some 280 opposition leaders are in Cuban prisons, according to dissidents, who were little impressed by the deal. Marta Beatriz Roque, leader of the illegal Assembly for the Promotion of Civil Society, said, "I do not believe at all in the deal, or in the good will of the Spanish government." The European Union imposed political and diplomatic sanctions on Cuba in 2003 after the regime arrested and sentenced 75 dissidents to terms of six to 28 years of prison. Sixteen have since been released due to poor health. The EU must decide in June whether to extend the sanctions. EU aid amounted to US$3.6 million in 2000, US$8.5 million in 2001 and US$600,000 dollars in 2002.
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Publication:Caribbean Update
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:5CUBA
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:266
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