EU insists on extraterritorial nature of US Blockade against Cuba

The significant intensification of the implementation of the blockade and its impact on the economic life of Cuba was a central issue during the second Cuba-European Union (EU) Dialogue on Unilateral Coercive Measures.

This exchange took place Friday pursuant to the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement reached between the two parties in 2016 and provisionally put into effect in 2017.

Rodolfo Reyes, Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Law at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thanked the support of the multilateral bloc during the vote at the United Nations against the economic, commercial and financial blockade that for some 60 years has caused enormous material losses to the island nation.

At the same time, Katja Afheldt, head of the European External Action and Service division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, stressed the importance of this type of meeting for mutual understanding and the search for common ground in different areas.

Afheldt also talked about the gravity of the intensification of these measures, which not only affect the Cuban government, but also the people.

Likewise, on behalf of his delegation, she rejected the implementation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, as well as its extraterritorial character.

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Cuba's National Assembly of People's Power rejects European Parliament's interventionist resolution

The International Relations Committee of the National Assembly of People's Power voiced its most energetic rejection of the Common Resolution, approved by a 56% majority in the European Parliament on Thursday, for its interfering content and harmful to Cuban sovereignty, with absolute ignorance of the island's reality.

The parliamentary body stated that the European text responds to a new slander campaign orchestrated by the U.S. government as part of its failed policy of hostility and aggressions against Cuba, increased during the last months.

The International Relations Committee expressed its deep concern that a group of MEPs from some right-wing political forces within the European Parliament, echoing this campaign and with evident political motivation, have lent themselves to orchestrate this anti-Cuban maneuver, by promoting such a pronouncement in that forum, in frank subordination to the U.S. imperial desires against Cuba, which contradicts the spirit of respectful dialogue that has prevailed in relations between Cuba and the European Union.

Following its usual course of action -- the statement adds-- the United States of America finances activities that threaten the constitutional order in force in Cuba, attempting to recruit mercenaries to artificially manufacture the "opposition" they desire, in the absence of legitimate support for their purposes of domination.

Such is the case of José Daniel Ferrer, whose criminal trajectory has been duly documented.

The statement noted that there are numerous actions supported by the U.S. government --- that it would never allowed in its territory--- which openly violates the bilateral Agreement on the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries and disrespects the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and International Law. This constitutes a clear and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of Cuba.

The Committee on International Relations reiterated that unacceptable Resolutions such as the one approved only serve as a basis and support for the attempts of the government of the United States of America to destroy the noble and generous work of the Cuban Revolution and to justify its blockade policy, which constitutes the most dangerous and flagrant violation of the human rights of all our people.

Finally, it expressed to the European Parliament the willingness of Cuban legislators to continue maintaining relations with the European Parliament and exchanges with its members on the basis of recognition of our differences and respect for our independence and sovereignty, in accordance with the principles of international law.

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Cuba and the European Union to discuss unilateral coercive measures

The second Cuba-European Union dialogue on unilateral coercive measures will take place next Friday in Havana, as a follow-up to the meeting held in November 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

The meeting will address the imposition of unilateral coercive measures as a means of applying political and economic pressure against states, as well as the legal and practical aspects of existing legislation in the European Union (EU) to counteract the extraterritorial application of laws imposed by third countries.

It is being held under the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement signed between Cuba and the EU in 2016 and provisionally put into effect in 2017.

As part of this dialogue, Cuban and European civil society representatives will exchange views next Thursday on the damage caused by these measures, particularly in the health sector.

The Cuban delegation, headed by the General Director of Multilateral Affairs and International Law of the Foreign Ministry, Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez, will denounce the tightening of the US blockade against Cuba, "a policy that constitutes the set of unilateral coercive measures with the longest application in history".

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Cuba, EU strengthen cooperation in sustainable agriculture

Cuba and the European Union (EU) reinforce this Tuesday cooperation ties in the fight against climate change, for more sustainable agriculture and energy, according to a EU diplomat.

In an interview with Prensa Latina, the ambassador and head of the EU delegation in Cuba, Alberto Navarro, also considered in that sense the Strategic Support Program for Sustainable Food Security in Cuba (SAS), whose implementation began recently and it will be lasting six years.

This project, which has financial support from the EU of nearly 20 million euros, aims to sustainably increase the production of quality food to meet local demand, specifically through the application of innovative, environmental and resilient approaches.

Responsible for this food project are the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG) and the EU, and also counts on the monetary support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The ministries of the Food Industry, Public Health, Internal Trade, Economy and Planning, Higher Education, Science, Technology and Environment and Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment are being involved, as well.

The program is very important for the EU's cooperation with Cuba, which is being significantly strengthened, and in which we have tripled the funds in the last two years, Navarro explained.

But beyond the importance of the volume of funds, he pointed out, is the trust we have with the partners of the Cuban government, in this case the MINAG.

There can be no sovereignty without food security and here the EU wants to put its sand grain and contribute to this project, which follows others such as Basal (Environmental Bases for Local Food Sustainability), and the Agro-chains, he referred.

We want to contribute, he said, to Cuba having greater food sovereignty and being less dependent on imports, and at the same time developing healthy and quality products, which is what we all want.

The EU also implements on Cuba a project with almost similar financing, of about 20 million euros, related to the use of renewable energy.

In this strategic sector we want to help to have better efficiency, more rational use of energy resources, less fossil fuels and that Cuba take advantage of renewable energy, Navarro underscored.

We definitely work through cooperation in the areas of a new green economy, the fight against climate change, more sustainable agriculture and energy that help the United Nations 2030 agenda.

According to the Ambassador, the relations between the EU and Cuba, run at a good timing, 'I would say honeymoon after 20 years of drifting apart from 1996 to 2006,' he sustained.

Since December 2016, with the signing of the Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation (ADPC), relations have only strengthened and improved on the basis of respect and trust, he said.

And there are the results of two years of the entry into force of the ADPC: two joint councils, in Brussels and Havana, a multitude of political and sectoral dialogues, multiplied by three financial resources and more and more confidence. I think we are working very well Europeans and Cubans, he considered.

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Cuba, EU hold second Joint Council meeting in Havana

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Monday reaffirmed the bloc's drive to deepen trade with Cuba and counter a wave of lawsuits against European firms as Washington increases pressure on the communist-run island.

“Cuba is a key partner for us,” Mogherini said in talks in Havana with her Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.

US President Donald Trump has tightened sanctions against Havana over rights violations and support for Venezuela's leftist regime.

The latest squeeze on the Cuban government's finances came last week when the US curbed the amount Cuban Americans could send home in lifeblood remittances.

But Washington's drive to cut off funds to Havana has exposed European firms to huge lawsuits from Cuban-Americans, an “illegal” move which Mogherini said the EU would counter.

“The European Union has constantly reiterated its position on considering illegal the extraterritorial application of the US measures,” she said.

“We've made it clear to the US administration in previous years and months and we are now putting in place European Union measures to try to have an effective protection of European investments, of the European economic presence here in Cuba.”

Trump activated a provision of the 1996 Helms-Burton law that allows Cuban-Americans to recover damages from companies that do business with the Cuban state.

The provision had been waived by every previous US president to avoid conflicts with friendly, mainly European countries with companies active in Cuba.

Since coming to office in 2017, Trump has dismantled the rapprochement with Havana begun by former US president Barack Obama.

On Monday, EU and Cuban officials held a meeting of the Cuba-EU council, created in 2016 to strengthen trade links. A first meeting of the council was held in Brussels in May last year.

“The holding of this second council is proof of progress in relations with the EU,” Rodriguez said.

The rapprochement has paid off, the EU is now the largest investor in Cuba and its largest trading partner, with trade exceeding US$3.47 billion in 2018.

Since 2008, the EU “has committed 200 million Euros to support the development of Cuba, in agriculture, food security, environment and climate change, ”but also to accompany the modernization of the country,“ Mogherini said.

”We are at the best moment in the 25 years of relations between Cuba and the European Union,” EU ambassador to Cuba Alberto Navarro said.

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Second Joint European Union-Cuba Council Starts Today

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, today will preside over the Second Joint Council.

The Cuban Head of Foreign Affairs and the Italian politician presided over the first of these meetings in Brussels, EU headquarters, on May 15, 2018. Official data indicate that both parties develop dialogues on human rights, unilateral coercive measures, disarmament and others matters.

At today's meeting, the parties will discuss cooperation and future dialogue on sectorial policy.

According to the Foreign Ministry, trade and investment will also be discussed, including the Helms-Burton Act, which intensifies the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba six decades ago and its extraterritorial effects.

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement regulates the links between Cuba and the EU and establishes the conditions for the development of 'stable, mutually beneficial and long-term links'.

This agreement entered into force in 2017 and contributes effectively to the development of political dialogue and cooperation with the European Community bloc on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity and equality.

The Caribbean island has full diplomatic relations with the 28 EU member states and celebrated last year the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations with the European Community.

In turn, cooperation includes areas such as food security, adaptation to climate change, renewable energy and the exchange of experiences for the modernization of the Cuban economy.

On Sunday, the EU High Representative visited the former Convent of Santa Clara located in the historic center of this capital.

Mogherini, accompanied by the Historian of the City, Eusebio Leal, appreciated how advanced the restoration of the emblematic place is.

At the moment and with the help of the European Union, this building will become the Santa Clara College for the Training of Arts and Crafts in the Restoration of Cuba and the Caribbean.

Leal thanked Mogherini for the contribution of the so-called old continent.

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Cuba Reiterates Interest in Boosting links with European Union

Cuban Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodríguez, ratified today the interest in boosting cooperation and dialogue with the European Union (EU).

In his Twitter social network account, the diplomat insisted that relations between the greater of the Antilles and the 28-country bloc have developed favorably, on the bases of mutual respect.

'We build spaces of dialogue and cooperation. We privileged the common points above those that difference us to develop stable and long-term links', he stressed.

Rodriguez recalled that last year, Cuba and the EU held the first sessions of the Joint Council and the meetings to approach issues in the area of human rights and unilateral coercive measures.

At the end of 2016, the island and the European bloc signed an agreement of political dialogue and cooperation, that represented the official end to the common position on Cuba, an initiative applied since 1996 by the EU which conditioned the approach to the greater of the Antilles to human rights issues, rejected by the Caribbean country, considering it a position of subordination to the U.S. aggressiveness and its economic blockade.

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Vladimir Putin Re-elected by Landslide 76.65 Pct

Moscow, Mar 19 (Prensa Latina) Russian leader Vladimir Putin overwhelmingly won reelection by landslide with 76.65 percent with 99 percent of the ballots counted according to the latest official reports at 05:21 local time.

The Russian Election Commission said Monday almost 55.5 million of voters supported his candidacy.

The above 76 percent vote collected is Putin's all time high electoral support, far higher than the 52.9 percent he got in 2000, his 71.31 percent in 2004 and 63.6 in 2012, the Russian Central Electoral Commission outlined.

Addressing a rally at his campaign headquarters, Putin thanked his supporters, shared views on key issues and lay out his plans for the future, on which he said: 'We need a leap forward.'

He said his international agenda will be to develop relations with nations on all continents, adding Russia is ready to overcome all difficulties with Europe, while underscoring that China is Moscow's strategic partner and he's planning to expand links with Beijing.

The President stressed 'it is important for Russians to understand that there are huge challenges before us, and we must overcome these challenges, we must complete the nation's tasks. And I count on us all to continue this work together.'

First-time Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin came in second with 11.83 percent, while veteran nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democratic party), who first ran against Boris Yeltsin in 1991, finished third with 5.6 percent.

The rest of the other five candidates running for president did not reached 2 percent.

They were Civil Initiative party leader Ksenia Sobchak, Sergei Baburin (All-People's Union party), Maxim Suraykin (Communists of Russia party), Boris Titov (Presidential Commissioner for Entrepreneurs' Rights) and Grigory Yavlinsky (Yabloko party).

Results of the presidential election in Russia show the Russian people are happy with the domestic and foreign policies implemented by the current leadership and voted for the continuation of the political course, observer from Italy Claudio D'Amico told Sputnik News.

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