EU seeks positive signals from Cuba on talks


The European Union believes there must be a resumption of talks with Cuba, but the ball remains in Havana's court, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel said today.

"The EU is quite unanimous in believing that dialogue must restart, but for that to happen, Cuba must send us some signals which we have asked for but have not yet appeared," said Mr Michel, whose country is the current holder of the rotating EU presidency. Mr Michel made his comments at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in this lakeside town near Brussels.

"The general feeling of this meeting is that we have to try to restart dialogue, but not just at any price," he told AFP.

The current policy of the EU's 15 states limits them to supplying humanitarian aid to Cuba through non-governmental organisations.

At the end of June, EU foreign ministers extended their current policy for another six months. This policy has shaped relations between Cuba and the EU since 1996.

Mr Michel added at the meeting that Cuban opposition politicians he met during his visit to Cuba at the end of August had underlined the importance of the EU not isolating Cuba.

The Belgian minister added that Cuba was prepared to join the Cotonou accord without pre-conditions, an accord which governed the EU's relations with African countries, the Caribbean and Pacific states.