Cuba reiterated its willingness on Friday to participate in further meetings with the European Union (EU) to discuss human rights on the basis of equality, reciprocity and mutual respect.
A report published by Cuban Foreign Ministry confirmed the island’s decision to “continue these exchanges, based on the recognition and respect of the conceptual differences and the willingness to address any topic, on an equal sense of balance, reciprocity and mutual respect.”
The statement, posted on the website http://www.cubaminrex.cu, refers to the meeting between diplomats from Cuba and the EU, who met on Thursday in Brussels discussing the basic principles of human rights for the first time.
This is part of an ongoing negotiation aiming to reach a political and economic collaboration agreement between the Caribbean island and the European bloc.
The meeting was a “technical dialogue” that took place in a “friendly and professional” environment, according to the official document.
Cuban representatives asked to discuss issues such as racial discrimination, vulnerable groups’ human rights, including migrants, religious and ethnic minorities, and protecting human rights in the fight against terrorism.
Meanwhile the European bloc considered that the first bilateral meeting on human rights showed a common commitment to “deepening relations” and supporting respect for human rights.
The venue, date and agenda of the next meeting will be defined through diplomatic channels according to the Cuban Foreign Ministry.
A year ago Cuba and the EU began a process to normalize bilateral ties.
The Caribbean island is the only Latin American country without a political and economic collaboration agreement with the European bloc.
EU relations with Cuba are currently governed by the Common Position; a document adopted by the EU in 1996, conditioning the relations with Havana to certain requirements of “democracy and respect for human rights”.
Cuba rejected this document as an “interference in its domestic affairs”.