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European Union and Cuban officials will meet shortly to open the political dialogue
The first formal meeting would take place between Cuba and France, which currently holds the EU rotating presidency, Miguel Angel Moratinos Tuesday told parliament without giving the time or the place of the meeting.

French and Cuban officials agreed on the meeting during last week's UN General Assembly session, he said.

The EU agreed in June to lift the diplomatic sanctions imposed on Cuba in 2003 and to open an unconditional dialogue with the goal of improving Cuba's political and human rights situation.

Moratinos said Spain aims at playing a key role in promoting Latin America's political, economic and rights situations.

"We don't want to be leaders in Latin America, but to play an influential part. We have good relations with all because that is our responsibility," Moratinos said and defended Spain's diplomatic relations with Latin America's Leftist regimes in Venezuela under Hugo Chavez or Bolivia under Evo Morales as part of its "fluid and direct" dialogue with the countries of the region.

"We have managed to consolidate a strategic presence without precedent in Latin America," Moratinos said in an apparent rejoinder to criticism by Cuba's rightist elements that Madrid's approach to Latin America is ambivalent.


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