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EU agrees to lift sanctions on Cuba

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union agreed on Thursday to scrap its sanctions against Cuba, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.

“Cuban sanctions will be lifted,” she told reporters after foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc clinched agreement at a summit dinner in Brussels.

The EU measures were imposed after a crackdown on dissent in 2003 and include a freeze on visits by high-level officials.

The sanctions were suspended in 2005. Their full abolition was decided to encourage more reforms by President Raul Castro, who took over after the February 24 retirement of his brother Fidel.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Paul Taylor