Cuba and EU Hold New Talks to Normalize Relations

The Cuban Foreign Ministry said talks between the two sides have been going smoothly and are based on equality and mutual respect.

Cuba and the European Union officials are meeting for a fresh round of negotiations Wednesday and Thursday at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, where they will discuss increasing trade, investment and political dialogue between the two sides.

This will be the third round of talks between Cuba and the EU in the past year meant to thaw relations between the two sides, since diplomatic ties were suspended in 2003.

Officials met in Brussels in August and in Havana in April of 2014. They were initially meant to meet for a third time in December, but it was called off twice.

This is the first time EU and Cuban officials have met since the United States announced that it would make efforts to restore relations with the socialist island nation, after more than 50 years of hostility between them.

French President Francois Hollande joined in efforts to rejuvenate ties with Cuba, and announced Tuesday that he will visit Cuba in May. This will be the first ever visit to the island by a French head of state.