Dutch FM: Netherlands building "solid relationship" with Cuba
The Netherlands and Cuba will be working more closely together in future. Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs made this agreement during his visit to Cuba, the ministry announced on Friday. Koenders said that the Netherlands has a "solid relationship" with Cuba, ANP reports. There has been a number visits between the Netherlands and Cuba recently. Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Havana in April for meetings with, among others, President Raul Castro. Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez recently also recently visited the Netherlands. "The many visits and meetings of the past time, at all levels, characterize the efforts of the Netherlands as a bridge builder towards Cuba", Koenders said. According to the Minister, through the existing relationship with Cuba, the Netherlands could play a leading role in improving the relationship between the European Union and Cuba. The EU and Cuba has been in negotiations since April 2014 over political dialogue and cooperation. "It is important that we strengthen the discussion. But without exerting pressure, if we want a good deal for both Cuba and the EU", Koenders told Cuban journalists. During his visit Koenders met with the Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelino Medina, the head of foreign trade and investment and a leader of the Catholic Church. The Netherlands can offer Cuba knowledge and expertise on the fields of agriculture, water management, airport security and healthcare. According to Koenders, the Netherlands and Cuba are on the verge of signing a contract for two large investment projects on the island.