Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on the evening of 17 December following announcements of a realignment of relations between the USA and Cuba:
The announcement by US President Obama and Cuban President Castro to begin normalising relations between their two countries is a most welcome piece of news in this conflict-ridden age.
I have great respect for President Obama’s courage in ending a policy lasting more than five decades that has ultimately only led to stagnation, disenfranchisement and a lack of prospects for the people.
Ending the decades of silence between the two neighbours can be the beginning of a far-reaching process of rapprochement and opening. Europe also dared to seek a fresh start in 2013 when it opened negotiations with Cuba to achieve an agreement on political dialogue and cooperation. For us, this process goes hand in hand with the clear position that the human rights situation in Cuba must still be critically questioned and improved.
I share President Obama’s view that the dignity and self-determination of the Cuban people should be the yardstick of our policy on Cuba. The Cuban people can only stand to benefit from improved relations with the USA as well as with Europe.