Foreign Minister Timmermans to Visit Cuba
THE HAGUE, 03/01/14 - Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans is to visit Cuba. He plans to “strengthen the ties” in a visit from Sunday through Tuesday, his ministry announced Thursday.
Cuba has carried out a number of reforms in the past few years. For example, Cubans can buy cars nowadays and no longer have to apply for a permit to travel abroad.
According to Timmermans, Cuba has ''begun a political and economic reform process that deserves our attention,” and the Netherlands can “encourage positive developments” via good contacts.
Timmermans will meet with the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Ministers in Cuba among other officials. He will also meet with writers, economists and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.
As far as is known, this is the first time that a Dutch foreign minister has visited Cuba. In 1999 however, Economic Affairs State Secretary Gerrit Ybema did head a trade mission in Cuba.
Agriculture Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst cancelled a visit in 2002 because Havana would not give a visa to the then chairman Doekle Terpstra of trade union federation CNV, who was to travel with the minister.