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David Miliband(Archived), London
I have sat through a discussion in Brussels about next steps on engagement with Cuba. The number of political prisoners (229 in June 2008) and prisoners of conscience (62 according to Amnesty) are a stain on the reputation of the country. But there is consensus in the EU that renewed engagement with the new government is worthwhile. I support that. And there are tentative signs of opening up.
But the discussion was striking for the experience around the table of living with dictatorial regimes: not just in Eastern Europe where the memory is recent, but in Spain and Portugal and Greece. The discussion was not romantic or rose tinted: human rights abuse casts a long shadow.
The EU will review its process of engagement in a year's time to check on progress before taking it further forward.
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