EU, Latin America urge US to lift embargo on Cuba

French President Francois Hollande (R) and Cuban President Raul Castro Ruiz review an honour guard at the Revolution Palace , in La Havana on May 11, 2015 (AFP Photo/Alain Jocard)
The EU joined Latin America and the Caribbean in calling Thursday for the United States to lift its decades-old embargo on Cuba and in vowing to help secure a global deal in Paris to curb climate change.
Leaders of the three regions ended a two-day summit in Brussels welcoming December\’s announcement by US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro that they would restore diplomatic ties between their countries.
"In this context, we expect all necessary steps to be taken towards an early end to the embargo," the EU and Latin American nations said in a joint statement.
The sanctions have had "undue humanitarian consequences" for the Cuban people and are "damaging to the legitimate development of economic ties between Cuba, the European Union and other countries", it said.
The United States earlier this month dropped Cuba from its terror blacklist, but the US embargo imposed on the communist-run island nation in 1962 remains in place and will be a key hurdle in resuming diplomatic ties as it requires congressional approval.
The EU and Cuba are meanwhile due to hold another round of talks in Brussels next week in a bid to normalise their own strained ties.
In 2003, the EU froze relations with Cuba over a crackdown on activists and journalists. It started talks to resume them in April last year.
In Brussels, leaders from the 28 EU countries and 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations also pledged to work together to "achieve a legally binding global climate agreement that is needed to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees Celsius", when they join a global summit in Paris in November.
The lower figure was apparently put in by the Caribbean island nations that fear rising sea levels blamed on global warming.
Negotiations coalesce around the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.
That is a figure scientists say offers a good chance of avoiding catastrophic damage to Earth\’s climate system and a future darkened by ever-worsening drought, flood, storms and rising seas.
In a bid to deepen investment and trade links with the region, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said Brussels announced during the summit a total of more than 800 million euros ($900 million) in support for the 33 nations.
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