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EU Crafts New Strategy on Cuba

The European Union has adopted a new strategy on Cuba, but has postponed the renewal of sanctions for another year.

EU foreign ministers Monday deplored the state of human rights on the communist island and urged Havana to free all political prisoners. But the diplomats did not reinstate the sanctions that were suspended in January 2005.

Support for a tougher stance on Cuba was strongest among new EU members from Eastern Europe that still live with the legacy of communism. Sweden and the Netherlands also were in favor of a tougher policy.

Cuba's colonial ruler, Spain, was among the countries opposing the renewal of sanctions.

The declaration concludes that the European Union would welcome renewed political dialogue with Cuban authorities. The ministers are expected to review the situation on Cuba again next year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.