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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07VIENNA1282 2007-05-15 12:47:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vienna
Cable title:  

AUSTRIA ON EU CUBA POLICY -- DISCUSSIONS

Tags:   PREL PGOV PHUM EUN CU AU 
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1. (C) During a May 14 meeting, EconPolCouns discussed the
state of EU discussions of its policy toward Cuba with
Austrian MFA Americas Director Rudolf Lennkh and Latin
America chief Andreas Melan. With ref (b) in mind, we
reviewed ref (a) points, stressing that this is not the time
to soften the EU Common Position or to end the "June
measures" that imposed sanctions in 2003. We then asked the
status of the EU's discussions on Cuba policy in general, and
on the June measures in particular.



2. (C) Lennkh and Melan seemed rather non-plussed,
commenting that discussions are "just beginning" in
preparation for the annual review of the Common Position at
the June EU foreign ministers' meeting. Lennkh said the
situation now is "different" than it was last June, when the
Austrian EU Presidency managed the issue. Melan elaborated
that the effective transfer of power from Fidel Castro to his
brother, Raul, was a new factor, even if it meant no change
in the regime or in the oppresive system in place in Cuba.
There are "new ideas" each year on how the EU should approach
the issue of Cuba, and this would be even more true this
year. On the specific question of the June measures, Melan
said he expected that the consensus would be to keep
sanctions suspended, as they have been for the past two
years. A proposal was afloat to trade the formal abandonment
of the sanctions in exchange for "something" from the Cubans
(meaning something on human rights). Melan stressed,
however, that the "hard core discussion hasn't taken place
yet" on Cuba within the EU.



3. (C) Comment: This is not meant to gainsay ref (b)
analysis. Indeed, the Austrians are not nearly so focussed
on Cuba as are the Czechs, and especially Czech FM
Schwarzenberg. However, if the Austrians have been unaware
of the shape of EU discussions on Cuba (and we have no reason
to doubt the honesty of our interlocutors on this point),
then there may still be some scope for influencing the
discussions.
McCaw