September 16, 2008 / 6:39 PM / 9 years ago

Cuba accepts political dialogue with EU

<p>Cuba's President Raul Castro reviews the honor guard during an official reception for East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana September 5, 2008.Claudia Daut</p>

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba, in a letter sent earlier this month, conditionally accepted the resumption of formal political dialogue with the European Union, as offered by the European bloc when it lifted diplomatic sanctions against the island two months ago.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry said it "accepts your proposal ... once the foundations and bases are established by joint agreement," in a letter sent in early September to EU headquarters in Brussels and the French embassy in Havana. Reuters was shown the letter this week.

The establishment of formal dialogue, along with the elimination of EU sanctions, could be the first steps toward normalization of what have been strained relations between the 27-member bloc and Cuba, diplomats said.

Reporting by Esteban Israel, Editing by Jeff Franks, Michael Christie and Sandra Maler

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