WASHINGTON (AFP) — Washington said Thursday it opposed EU moves to lift sanctions against Cuba, which it said remains an authoritarian regime, despite recent reforms.
"While we've seen some very minor cosmetic changes made by this regime, we certainly don't see any kind of fundamental break" with communism as practiced by recently departed Cuban president Fidel Castro, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.
"Certainly, I would hope that ... any of our democratic friends and allies throughout the world would be cognizant of not taking actions that would appear to give additional legitimacy" to the Cuban regime, he said.
His comments came with EU foreign ministers close to agreement Thursday on scrapping the bloc's sanctions against Cuba, to encourage Raul Castro and his administration in the post-Fidel era.
Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who has been championing the bid to drop the sanctions, said he was hopeful of reaching a deal at the meeting in Brussels with his EU counterparts.
Many European officials have called for the lifting of the sanctions, which ban high-level diplomatic contacts. They were introduced in 2003 but have been suspended since 2005.
Removing the sanctions would be a symbolic gesture, given that there is no chance of the suspended measures being reactivated. In order to maintain some leverage on the Cuban government however, the EU would agree to review the situation in a year, sources said.
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