Thursday, March 26, 2015

EU Diplomat Federica Mogherini - ‘There is no distancing from civil society’

EU Diplomat Federica Mogherini: 'There is no distancing from civil society'
14YMEDIO, La Habana | Marzo 24, 2015

On Tuesday afternoon the European Union's High Representative for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, held a press
conference for Cuban official media and foreign correspondents in
Havana. According to the representative, Cuba and the European Union
aspire to reach an agreement on political dialog and cooperation before
the end of the year.

At the press conference, held in the Taganana Room at the Hotel
Nacional, independent Cuban media were not allowed to enter. However,
despite the restrictions, a 14ymedio reporter managed to get some
statements from the official as she left the location.

Thanks to the collaboration of Herman Portocarero, European Union
Ambassador to Cuba, this newspaper was able to have brief contact with
Mogherini at the end of the press conference. The official regretted the
incident that blocked journalist Reinaldo Escobar from entering the area
of the press conference and agreed to answer some brief questions.

In its questions, 14ymedio, recalled that during the rift between the
Cuban authorities and the European leaders there was increased contact
with alternative civil society, whose representatives have been received
in several European Chancelleries. Thus, it's worth asking, "Does the
current approach of the European Union to the Cuban government mean that
this relationship with civil society will be reduced or eliminated?"

Mogherini replied, "No, there is no distancing from Civil Society. The
Europeans, the European Union, always talk with civil society, with
every civil society." To which this newspaper asked if she thought that
relations between Cuba and the European Union were improving. The
European head of diplomacy said, "I believe it is advancing."

The issue of the United Nations Human Rights covenants that the Cuban
government has signed but not ratified was also a subject of questions.
Mogherini responded that, "The subject was discussed, but I cannot speak
to it. I can't speak on behalf of the Cuban government."

Mogherini made an official visit to Cuba this Tuesday, the first for a
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs to the island, to
advance the dialogue seeking a normalization of relations between
Brussels and Havana.

Cuba is the only Latin American country with which the European bloc
does not have a bilateral agreement. Since 1996 relations have been
determined by the "Common Position" which has conditioned ties with
Havana to advances in democracy and human rights in Cuba.

Source: EU Diplomat Federica Mogherini: 'There is no distancing from
civil society' -

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