Top EU diplomat to visit Cuba over bilateral ties

Havana, March 4 (IANS) European Union (EU) Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini will visit Cuba on March 10-11 to push forward talks that could finalise an agreement on normalising bilateral ties.

Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno on Thursday said the visit will be “very important” in the current situation, Xinhua news agency reported.

Cuba and the EU on Thursday started a new round of talks to reach a bilateral agreement on political dialogue and cooperation.

“We are very hopeful with this round and we believe we can make substantial progress,” Moreno said.

Christian Leffler, deputy secretary-general for Economic and Global Issues at the European External Action Service, who co-chairs the talks with Moreno, said the two sides “are in a good position to advance in a very substantive way in negotiating the future framework agreement between the EU and Cuba.”

According to the EU delegation, this round of talks will address human rights, institutional provisions and general provisions of the agreement.

Cuba is the only Latin American country without a bilateral treaty with the EU.

Negotiations between the two sides started in April 2014 at the request of the EU, which moved to accelerate the normalisation of relations after Havana and Washington announced a historic detente in July 2015.

The two sides have concluded six rounds of talks and negotiations on trade cooperation that ended in December 2015.

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