Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cuba's Castro warns Trump to respect country's sovereignty

Cuba's Castro warns Trump to respect country's sovereignty
By Nelson Acosta

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban President Raul Castro on Wednesday said Cuba
hoped to continue to normalize relations with the United States, but
made clear the Trump administration should not expect concessions
affecting the country's sovereignty.

President Donald Trump, before taking office, threatened to torpedo the
still fragile detente between the former Cold War foes unless a "better
deal" could be struck, without providing details. His aides have said
current policy is under review.

"Cuba and the United States can cooperate and live side by side in a
civilized manner, respecting our differences and promoting all that is
of benefit for both countries and people," Castro said in his
government's first remarks since Trump took office on Friday.

"But it should not hope that to achieve this Cuba will make concessions
inherent to its independence and sovereignty," he said, in a speech to a
summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in the Dominican Republic
broadcast live on Cuban television.

Seeking to reverse more than 50 years of U.S. efforts to force
Communist-run Cuba to change by isolating it, Obama agreed with Castro
in December 2014 to work to normalize relations. Since then the two
countries have restored diplomatic ties and signed cooperation agreements.

Obama, a Democrat, used executive orders to circumvent the longstanding
U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and ease some restrictions on travel and
business. The embargo can only be lifted by the U.S. Congress, which is
controlled by Republicans.

The normalization process has included the signing of 22 agreements
between the two former Cold War foes and the use of executive orders to
punch holes in the embargo.

The agreements include cooperation on environmental and security issues,
immigration and postal service.

Travel to the Caribbean island from the United States has increased,
with the start of direct flights and cruises and roaming agreements
signed, but no manufacturing or significant trade deals have been inked.

Castro said he hoped the Trump administration would respect the region,
but called "worrisome" its declared intentions to put at risk "our
interests in the areas of trade, employment, migration and the
environment," apparently referring to Mexico.

(Additional reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Source: Cuba's Castro warns Trump to respect country's sovereignty -

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