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Foreign Policy

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 21 April 2021

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Questions (840)

Brendan Howlin


840. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had a conversation with the new administration in the United States of America in relation to ongoing US sanctions against Cuba; if the ban on contributions to Cuba via third countries has been discussed; his views on this ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18361/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland’s position on the US embargo on Cuba is longstanding and clear. Fundamentally, Ireland believes that the embargo serves no constructive purpose and that its lifting would facilitate an opening of Cuba’s economy to the benefit of its people. Ireland, along with our EU partners, has been a consistent supporter of the annual Resolution put forward by Cuba at the UN General Assembly regarding the US economic blockade.

Officials in my Department closely follow developments relating to the 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which is a US federal law that strengthens and continues the US's long-standing economic embargo against Cuba. I was concerned by the decision taken in 2019 by the previous US Administration to suspend waivers for Title III of the Act, which had protected European persons and entities from its extra-territorial elements. Together with our EU partners, Ireland has firmly and continuously opposed extra-territorial measures that seek to extend the US embargo against Cuba to third countries, as contrary to commonly accepted rules of international trade.

I also regret the inclusion of Cuba on the list of State-sponsors of terrorism by the previous US Administration and I support the statement by EU HR/VP Josep Borrell following the third EU-Cuba Joint Council in January 2021, that this decision will have a negative impact on foreign direct investment in Cuba and will further aggravate the already difficult situation of the Cuban people in the midst of the pandemic.I will continue to engage with the US Administration on a range of foreign policy issues. I welcome, in particular, Secretary of State Blinken's statement at his confirmation hearing that the Biden Administration is willing to engage on Cuba with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Frank and open dialogue with the US on policy towards Cuba, including the impact of sanctions, will be vital to finding a solution that best accords with the hopes and ambitions of the Cuban people .