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April 17, 2014

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EU seeking to upgrade bloc’s ties with Cuba

Updated Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 | 6:05 a.m.

BRUSSELS (AP) — A senior European Union official says the 28-nation bloc is set to upgrade its ties with Cuba to broaden economic cooperation and demand more progress on respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The official said Thursday the bloc's foreign ministers will endorse a mandate to negotiate a new agreement with Cuba at their meeting Monday.

The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity ahead of the decision's announcement, said the deal doesn't foresee facilitated trade relations or more development aid, but marks a crucial step by broadening and regularizing the two sides' political exchanges.

He declined to detail what progress on human rights the EU will demand from Cuba.

The person said the EU's move was in "full understanding" with the U.S. government.