HAVANA – Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met in Havana with the co-president of the United Kingdom’s Cuba Initiative, Lord David Triesman, who arrived on the island at the head of a group of British businessmen looking for business opportunities, Cuban media reported.
During the meeting, which was took place on Tuesday, Diaz-Canel and Triesman confirmed the “good state of bilateral economic relations and the commitment of the Cuba Initiative to continue working to strengthen them,” according to a brief article appearing on the front page of Cuban state-run newspaper Granma.
Participating in the meeting were Cuba Initiative coordinator Chris Bennett, UK Ambassador to Cuba Anthony Stokes, Cuban Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca and interim Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina.
The Cuban president on Monday attended the opening of the joint business forum, which will conclude on Thursday in Havana.
The relaunching of Initiative Cuba was agreed to during the visit Diaz-Canel made in November 2018 to the UK and was ratified last March after Britain’s Prince Charles visited the island.
The mechanism was created on the government level in 1995 to foster economic and trade relations and cooperation between the two nations.
So far during his visit, Triesman has held meetings with a number of Cuban officials, including Vice President and former Economy Minister Ricardo Cabrisas, as well as Medina.
Triesman criticized the US Helms-Burton Law – which in recent months has been used to strengthen Washington’s embargo on Cuba – and said that the British government will also respond to that measure.
On May 2, Washington – for the first time – activated Title III of the Helms-Burton Law, promulgated in 1996 and which allows US citizens and Cuban-Americans to sue foreign firms that are profiting from assets confiscated in Cuba after the 1959 Revolution.
“We do not intend to allow international litigation without reacting to (lawsuits of that kind). We must understand the priorities that Cuba has,” Triesman said at the opening of the forum, adding that “we must look for new methods and ways for bilateral business.”
In Cuba, British firms are participating in investment projects linked to the tourism and renewable energy sectors.
One of those projects is focused on establishing a solar park, the first of its kind to be developed by Britain’s Hive Energy company with an investment of about $59.42 million in the Mariel Special Economic Development Zone, Cuba’s largest business zone and a port and trade complex near Havana aimed at luring foreign investment.
The implementation of Title III was suspended every six months by the administrations of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and Donald Trump did the same thing for the first two years he was in office then changed tack and suspended it for only 45 days in January and then for only 30 days, a term that expired on April 17.