EU to bolster ties with Cuba amid U.S. hostility: official

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-05 15:38:28|Editor: Chengcheng
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HAVANA, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The European Union's top diplomat Federica Mogherini said Thursday that the EU is a reliable ally of Cuba and announced a series of agreements, in the face of the reversal in U.S.-Cuban relations under President Donald Trump.

Mogherini said at the end of a two-day official visit to Havana that the EU is a "solid, firm and reliable partner" of Cuba and despite differences, it remains "consistent" in its foreign policy.

She said cooperation agreements in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, culture and expertise valued at 49 million euros (52.04 million U.S. dollars) would be signed shortly.

To these can be added another 9 million euros (9.56 million dollars) recently donated by the bloc to help support the reconstruction efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which caused economic losses of more than 13 billion dollars.

France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and 19 other EU members have also made enormous investments in Cuba, especially in its tourism industry.

New possibilities arose for the longtime strained EU-Cuba ties after a framework agreement for political dialogue and cooperation in various fields came into effect last November.

The Trump administration has partially rolled back a fragile detente between the old Cold War foes begun by former U.S. President Barack Obama.

"The EU's foreign policy and orientation is autonomous, independent and decided by the 28 member states. We regret that the U.S. administration has apparently changed its position with respect to Cuba," said Mogherini.

Earlier, Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said his country was optimistic about the future of bilateral ties with the EU.

"Relations between the EU and Cuba are long-standing, with solid foundations based on cultural and friendly ties. That's why we see a promising future," Rodriguez said during a meeting with Mogherini.

Rodriguez regarded the EU as an important economic and trade partner, as well as an important investor.

Mogherini noted both sides are aligned in combating climate change and achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals, which call for greater cooperation, as opposed to the increased isolationism of U.S. foreign policy.

A delegation from the European Investment Bank will arrive in Cuba at the end of this month to explore joint investment opportunities.