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Borrell calls on Cuba to strengthen its economic relations with Brussels in the face of Russia and China


European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, during a visit to Havana Thursday, called on the Cuban authorities to “strengthen” economic relations with the European Union, the island’s main trading partner, in the face of other economic partners of Cuba such as China and Russia.

“I know that Cuba is currently facing a very difficult situation, especially in the field of energy, electricity and fuel. Therefore, it must strengthen economic relations with the European Union,” said Borrell, whose visit to Havana continues until Saturday.

He added that the European Union is the communist island’s first trading partner, with a share of 32% of its foreign trade, “compared to 8% for China and 8% for Russia.”

Borrell noted that Brussels is also a major donor of development aid to Havana.

He explained that the European Union is the first investor in Cuba “despite all the restrictions resulting from” the US embargo to which the island has been subject since 1962.

“We are much more important than other economic players such as Russia and China,” the European official added, stressing the European Union’s readiness to continue supporting “economic and social reforms” on the island.

Borrell’s statements come about a week after Russia and Cuba signed agreements in several economic sectors, and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s expression of his country’s “unconditional support” for Moscow “in its confrontation with the West.”

And on Wednesday, Cuba was one of nine countries, including notably China, North Korea and Belarus, that voted in Geneva against a resolution of the World Health Assembly (the executive body of the World Health Organization) calling for an end to Russian attacks on the health care system in Ukraine. The resolution was adopted by 80 votes.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Cuba has twice abstained from voting in the United Nations General Assembly against this invasion.

In his statement, Borrell announced the provision of 14 million euros in aid to the Cuban private sector, expressing his hope that relations between Havana and Washington would “improve”.

However, the European official stressed that in order for these relations to improve, “it is necessary for the world to confront those who attacked a country, Ukraine, for no reason, and destabilized the economies of the entire world.”

On Friday, Borrell will participate with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in the joint council between the European Union and Cuba, within the framework of the political and cooperative agreement signed between the two parties in Havana in 2016.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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