Adams wants end to Cuban sanctions

 

The Sinn FΘin president, Mr Gerry Adams, has called on the United States to lift economic sanctions against Cuba. However, he acknowledged this could present "difficulties" for Washington.

"There should be dialogue between the people of Cuba and the people of the USA and the blockade should be ended," he said in Havana yesterday.

"I know that may present difficulties, as indeed my visit here may present difficulties," he said, adding that Sinn FΘin's stance coincided with a recent UN general assembly vote to condemn the four-decade-old US trade embargo.

"Sinn FΘin has never felt they have the right to tell any other government, with the exception of the British government, what it should do, but we would like to see dialogue and normalisation of relationships everywhere," Mr Adams said. "I think that those people who support us in the USA will understand this position."

The Sinn FΘin leader is on a three-day visit to Cuba, accompanied by the party's MLA for North Belfast, Mr Gerry Kelly.

Their visit has also focused attention on the case of three Irishmen jailed in Colombia where they are accused of training Marxist FARC guerillas. They include Niall Connolly, Sinn FΘin's representative in Cuba.

The US, which considers the FARC a terrorist organisation, cautioned in September that a trip by Mr Adams to Cuba would raise "troubling questions" if it turned out the IRA had links to the FARC guerrillas.

In Cuba yesterday Mr Adams reiterated Sinn FΘin's position that the three men in Colombia should be released, while emphasising that his party values Washington's support for the peace process in the North.

Mr Adams was officially welcomed to Cuba by President Fidel Castro at an education rally in the capital Havana.

He shook hands with the revolutionary leader at a secondary school last night, where President Castro was addressing the subject of education. Around 2,000 people waved flags as the two leaders talked.