Sunday

25th Sep 2016

Cuba re-opens relations with EU embassies

Cuba decided on Monday (3 January) to re-establish relations with eight European embassies in Havana.

Cuba will re-open relations with the embassies of France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Portugal and Sweden, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said.

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Normal diplomatic relations will continue with Spain, Belgium and Hungary, minister added.

However, some EU countries still remain on Cuba's blacklist.

Relations with the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are expected to remain cold, as these countries have taken relatively hard line against Cuba.

They have refused to change their positions until Cuba releases all its political prisoners.

The unusual diplomatic row between the EU and Cuba started in 2003, when several EU embassies in Havana started inviting dissidents to diplomatic receptions.

The move angered the Cuban government which subsequently cut relations with many embassies.

However, a compromise proposal tabled in December suggesting that both Cuban dissidents and the authorities are no longer invited to reception has eased the impasse.

The compromise is expected to be discussed by EU foreign ministers later this month - ministers will also discuss whether high level visits are to be restored.

According to the BBC, Cuban dissidents have expressed disappointment as what they see as Europeans backing down.

EU rushing to ratify climate agreement

Environment ministers will try to agree next week to speed up the process to sign up to the Paris agreement. Otherwise it would not be present at the table of the signatories at a conference in November.

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