EU, Cuba sign agreement to establish improved ties

European Union, Cuba sign agreement to strengthen relations

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Christian Leffler (C), chief European negotiator for the EU-Cuba talks shakes hands with Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno at the foreign ministry in Havana March 11, 2016.

The European Union and Cuba signed an agreement on Friday to strengthen ties, preparing the Caribbean island to fully cooperate with the 28-member bloc.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was present during the signing of the agreement, he was joined by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"This is a historic day for bilateral relations," Mogherini said.

The deal, which comes amid Cuba's improved ties with the United States, must now be ratified by the governments of the EU bloc and Cuba.

Despite the warming relations, Washington retains an economic embargo against Cuba, making it harder for European companies with US business interests to operate on the Caribbean's largest island.

Mogherini railed against those sanctions.

"The US embargo is totally obsolete," she said.

The agreement will includes political dialogue as well as commerce and aid, superseding Europe’s existing policies that angered Cuba by pushing for changes to its one-party political system.

Rodriguez said the two sides would soon meet to revive the human rights dialogue they started in Brussels last year.

TRTWorld, Reuters