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Cuba Accepts EU Offer for Political Talks

  • VOA News

Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez speaks during a press conference in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, March 6, 2014.
Cuba has accepted a European Union invitation to begin talks on improving ties.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez says his country is willing to discuss human rights as part of discussions that would end what it considers a one-sided relationship with Europe

EU officials said last month the bloc would seek to upgrade ties with Cuba to broaden economic cooperation. They cautioned they would demand more progress on respecting rights and civil liberties.

Rodriguez says Cuban diplomats will work with EU officials to determine the details and dates for negotiations.

The European Union lifted sanctions on the communist-ruled country in 2008. But its 1996 "common position'' on Cuba places human rights and democracy conditions on improved economic relations.

EU foreign ministers say they are seeking better ties with Havana to support Cuba's market-oriented reforms and position European companies for any transition to an open economy.