On 14 October 2020, the European Union and Cuba held the second sessions of their political 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 recent developments in the area of arms control, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The parties also discussed lethal autonomous weapons systems. They 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 13 October, where representatives of Cuban and European civil society exchanged experience on the ways in which civil society can promote peace and disarmament.
The EU delegation was headed by the Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Marjolijn van Deelen and included the Head of Division for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Katja Afheldt, the EU Ambassador to Cuba Alberto Navarro 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 then 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 (first held in Havana on 16 April 2019).