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Cuba, EU pave way for new political, economic relations

(Xinhua)    09:09, March 13, 2016

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (R) and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini attend a joint press conference in Havana, capital of Cuba, March 11, 2016. (Xinhua/Liu Bin)

Cuba and the European Union (EU) on Friday finalized a deal to normalize relations 13 years after the unilateral suspension of ties by the EU, marking a new chapter in their political and economic relations.

The agreement, which came just ahead of a historic visit to Cuba by U.S. President Barack Obama, was reached in Havana during a visit by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Without a doubt, the agreement marks another achievement for Havana's foreign policy after the Caribbean nation and the United States announced in December 2014 plans to normalize relations. Cuba also renegotiated its debt with creditors of the Paris Club nations last December.

The deal resulted from nearly two years of intense negotiations that also touched upon the thorny issue of human rights -- the one that prompted the EU to unilaterally suspend ties in 2003.

It also means the end of a 20-year policy, known as the "common position" on Cuba, which restricts EU ties with the island until political reforms are made. The policy was rejected by Havana as interference in its domestic policy.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Mogherini witnessed the signing of the pact by Cuban deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno and EU negotiator Christian Leffler.

"This is a historic day for bilateral ties and is a demonstration of our mutual trust and understanding," Mogherini said.


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(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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