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On 7 March 2019 in Brussels the European Union and Cuba held the first sessions of their Dialogues on illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and other conventional weapons, as well as on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Discussions included exchanges of views on international and domestic legal frameworks applicable in the area of arms control, illicit trafficking of arms and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The parties agreed on the importance of stepping up international cooperation in these areas, and exchanged views on the assistance provided to third countries for the purpose of arms export control and non-proliferation. The EU briefed on the support it is providing, including in Latin America and the Caribbean. The parties agreed to continue exchange of information and to consider further cooperation in these areas.
The Dialogues were preceded by a civil society seminar on 6 March where representatives of Cuban and European civil society exchanged views on disarmament and non-proliferation and their role in the EU-Cuba relationship.
The EU delegation was headed by the Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Jacek Bylica and included the Acting Head of Division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Fernando Ponz, and other representatives of the European External Action Service. Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez, Director General for Multilateral Issues and International Law of the Cuban Ministry for Foreign Affairs led the Cuban delegation, which included the Cuban Ambassador to the EU H.E. Norma Goicochea Estenoz, as well as other officials of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Representatives of EU Member States also participated in the Dialogue as observers.
The Dialogues on illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and other conventional weapons, and on disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were held under the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), which was signed in December 2016 and entered into provisional application on 1 November 2017.
The Dialogues are two of five political Dialogues that HRVP Mogherini and Cuban Foreign Minister Rodriguez decided to launch during the first EU-Cuba Ministerial Joint Council under the PDCA in May 2018. The other political dialogues cover the topics of human rights (first held on 9 October 2018 in Havana), of unilateral coercive measures (first held on 19 November 2018 in Brussels) and of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (to be held in Havana in April 2019).