Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dutch FM wants to keep Cuba relations low-key

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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