Cuba and the European Union signed an agreement to normalize political relations and increase economic cooperation, which will allow the Caribbean nation to expand its ties with the bloc of 28 countries.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the EU
“The agreement marks the beginning of a new phase of bilateral relations. This contractual agreement is a historic demonstration of mutual trust and understanding between us. A clear framework has been created for the improvement of political dialogue as well as being a platform for the development of bilateral cooperation and joint action in multilateral forums to address global challenges. ”
The pact with the European Union was signed few days before the visit to the island by US President Barack Obama and after almost two years of bilateral discussions.
(Soundbite, Spanish) Bruno Rodriguez, Foreign Minister of Cuba
“Starting today, a new stage has begun with the signing of this agreement. This will allow us to continue our profitable relationships, propose ambitious goals and achieve results in the best traditions of both Europe and Cuba”.
Both sides agreed that once the agreement is ratified by the 28 member countries of the European Union, it will void the so-called Common Position, issued by the EU in 1996 to demand political reform and respect for human rights in Cuba. Now, negotiations will continue to expand economic cooperation.