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Posted August 04, 2003 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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Islamic Republic News Agency ( I R N A )HeadLines News

Brussels, Aug 4, IRNA—A spokesman for the European Commission    
confirmed Monday that Cuba has turned down all aid from the European
Union.     
                                     
  Spokesman Eric Mamer told a regular press briefing in Brussels  
that the Cuban Foreign Ministry has informed the EU about its decision
not to accept EU aid any longer.     
                   
  “We regret this decision. We are awaiting details how this    
decision will be implemented,” he said.     
               
  Cuba receives about 25 million euro in annual aid from the    
15-member European bloc.           
                   
  Last week Cuban leader Fidel Castro attacked EU policies and said
that ‘basic feeling of dignity’ impels Cuba to refuse all aid from the
EU as long as the the European bloc imposes political conditions on  
his country.                         

In a speech marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution,
Castro dismissed ‘the so-called humanitarian aid’ from the European  
Union, noting it had amounted to an average of dlrs 4.2 million a  
year.         
                               
  At the same time, Cuba pays EU governments dlrs 1.5 billion    
annually to purchase imported goods, he noted. “Who is really aiding
whom?” he asked.     
                             
  “The government of Cuba, out of an elementary sense of dignity, 
rejects any ‘humanitarian aid’ from the EU countries,” Castro stated
and denounced the EU as an American ‘Trojan horse’.     
     
  The Cuban government also rejects the EU statement that ‘the    
political dialogue’ must continue, he said. 
               
  “Our sovereignty and dignity are not negotiable with anyone.”   
  In June, the EU announced token sanctions against Cuba after mass
arrests of dissidents in March, and the execution of three men who  
tried to hijack a boat to escape to the United States in April.   

  The EU limited high-level visits to Cuba and reduced participation
of EU member states in cultural events in Cuba. 
             
  Early this year, the EU opened its office in Havana to promote  
bilateral ties.                 
                 
  EU foreign ministers are expected to review ties with Cuba in  
September.     

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