The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly holds meetings with US administration officials that include discussions about relations with and policy towards Cuba. In those meetings, FCO officials discuss US policy towards Cuba, whilst explaining UK/EU policy: namely that we favour constructive engagement with the Cuban authorities, and we do not support sanctions and isolation. On 8 November 2006, we again voted to adopt the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US against Cuba.
The US and EU both share an aim for Cuba—to encourage a peaceful transition to a pluralist democracy. However we differ on how to achieve that aim. The US favours isolation and sanctions against Cuba, while the UK is committed to the EU Common Position of 1996, which seeks constructive engagement and dialogue, with both Government and civil society. The UK therefore maintains a policy which is distinct from that of the US Commission to a Free Cuba.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials did not meet with any member of the US Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba on 16 August 2006.
However, on that day, FCO officials met in Washington with Caleb McCarry, an official of the US State Department dealing with Cuba under the title ‘Transition Co-ordinator’. It is routine for FCO officials to meet diplomatic contacts from the US State Department to discuss matters of mutual interest.
Discussion at the meeting with Caleb McCarry concerned UK/EU and US policy in Cuba. This included ways of encouraging a process of peaceful transition towards a pluralist democracy in Cuba—in line with the EU Common Position. Both sides agreed that Cuban people living on the island should define the country’s future. Differences between UK and US policy towards Cuba were also discussed.
There are currently no planned meetings with US politicians in their capacity as members of the US Commission to a Free Cuba.