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Cablegate: Hungary's Cuba Policy

VZCZCXRO3922
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHUP #0723 2050733
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230733Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUDAPEST
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3203
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BUDAPEST 000723

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEAPRTMENT FOR EUR/NCE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL CU HU EUN
SUBJECT: HUNGARY'S CUBA POLICY

REF: SECSTATE 74378

1. (SBU) MFA Americas Department Head Szilveszter Bus
discussed reftel with PolOff on July 22. Bus commented that
the recently updated EU Common Position opens a new chapter
in EU/Cuba relations. While Hungary supported the lifting of
sanctions - stating that the embargo was/is not successful -
Bus stressed that "it is important to have review mechanisms
as well as dialogue with pressure." He views "new" freedoms
to have cell phones, or visit seaside beach resorts, as
"something going on in the country, but not real reform."
Bus said that Hungary will remain as active in Cuba as in the
past, "working behind the scenes in Havana within the context
of the Trans-Atlantic relationship while facilitating unity
with the EU."

2. (SBU) Bus noted that their Ambassador and DCM in Havana
regularly invite opposition leaders to their residences for
meetings. He commented that the Embassy outreach program to
the opposition includes distribution of DVDs and cameras, as
well as plans for a fall film festival focusing on the
Hungarian transition to democracy. Queried as to any
pushback from the Cuban Government on relations with the
opposition, Bus stated that their quiet diplomacy keeps doors
open to the Cuban Government, "a much more effective approach
than the shouting of the Czechs, who don't have any dialogue
with the Cubans."

3. (SBU) Within the EU framework, Bus noted that Hungary
worked hard on the final EU Common Position text, in
particular, to soften the "the Council is encouraged"
language desired by Spain to the more nuanced the "Council
notes the changes." In closing, Bus said the MFA looks
forward to continued cooperation with the U.S. in moving the
Cuban democracy agenda forward.
Foley

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