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Cablegate: Cyprus: Libertad Act

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNC #0963 3441346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091346Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NICOSIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9410
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS

UNCLAS NICOSIA 000963

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ETRD ETTC PREL CU CY
SUBJECT: CYPRUS: LIBERTAD ACT

REF: STATE 126578

(U) This cable is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Following is Post's response to Reftel questionnaire
(answers keyed to questions).

-- Has the host country, in Post's opinion, worked to promote the
advancement of democracy and human rights in Cuba?

No, the ROC has not worked to promote the advancement of democracy
and human rights in Cuba. Underpinning much of ROC foreign policy
is desire for engagement and dialogue with recognized, sovereign
governments regardless of their human rights record. With current
Cypriot Communist Party Secretary General Demetris Christofias now
the ROC President, it is highly unlikely that Cyprus will demand
that the Raul Castro regime improve treatment of dissidents, allow
free speech, introduce economic liberalization, etc.

-- Has the host country made public statements or undertaken other
governmental actions, such as resolutions in the national assemblies
condemning human rights abuses in Cuba; or actions in support of
civil society in Cuba through host country's diplomatic missions or
other fora?

No, see above. Cyprus, dating back to its days in the Non-aligned
Movement, has enjoyed warm relations with Cuba, and has
traditionally supported it in international fora like the United
Nations.

-- Have there been any high-level diplomatic visits between Cuba and
the host country in the past six months?

On September 29, immediately after meeting with Secretary Rice at
UNGA, Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou traveled to Havana
for a two-day official visit. His official program included
meetings with Cuban Government and Communist Party officials, but no
calls on dissidents or human rights activists. In Havana, Kyprianou
announced that Cyprus would open an embassy there in 2009 (Cypriot
relations with Cuba are currently conducted from the ROC embassy in
Mexico City).

Kyprianou met with Cuba's Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque to
discuss bilateral relations, the Cyprus problem and EU - Cuba
relations. During his stay in Cuba, Kyprianou also met the
President of the Cuban National Assembly (ANPP), Minister for
International Investment Marta Lomas, Deputy Minister for
International Cooperation Yiliam Jimenez Exposito, and other
officials.

-- Did the host country offer or deliver humanitarian or other
assistance to the Cuban people in the wake of the major damage
caused by Hurricanes Gustav (August 30) and Ike (September 8)?

Post is unaware of any such assistance. Most Cypriot foreign aid is
disbursed in the Middle East and Africa.

-- What is the nature of investments (and names, if known) that host
country businesses have in Cuba? What host country businesses
participated in the Havana Trade Fair?

The Central Bank of Cyprus has confirmed that the flow of investment
from Cyprus to Cuba, and vice versa, was zero in 2007. Stock
investment from Cyprus to Cuba (by the end of 2007) remains around
Euros 222,000 (USD 284,000). Stock investment from Cuba to Cyprus
by the end of 2007 remains nil.

Christos Petsides, Director of Trade, at the Cyprus Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (KEBE) also confirmed that KEBE had not been
involved in sending any trade delegation to the Havana Trade Fair.

-- Are there any bilateral trade agreements or other cooperative
agreements between host country and Cuba?

On December 8, 2008, Stavros Amvrosiou, Minister Plenipotentiary and
Head of the Department of America at the MFA, confirmed that Cyprus
had not signed any trade or other agreements with Cuba. Amvrosiou
also noted that he was not aware of any scholarships, in either
direction, between Cuba and Cyprus.

URBANCIC

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