From Wed Sep 8 10:15:21 2004
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 16:26:12 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: [NYTr] RHC News Summary—Sept 6, 2004
Article: 189848
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

Panama Takes First Steps toward Re-establishing Diplomatic Relations

Radio Havana Cuba, 6 September 2004

Panama City, September 6 (RHC)—Panamanian President Martmn Torrijos has taken the first steps towards re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba, broken by Havana when ex-President Mireya Moscoso pardoned four self-confessed Cuban American terrorists just days before the end of her term on September 1st.

Panamanian Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro told local press Monday that Panama was keen to rebuild the links with Cuba, but said the nature of the situation required prudence in public declarations.

Cuba broke diplomatic relations with Panama on August 26th when Luis Posada Carriles, Pedro Remsn, Gaspar Jiminez and Guillermo Novo were pardoned despite being convicted of plotting to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro at the 10th Ibero American summit in that country in 2000. All four men are linked to other terrorist attacks against Cuba and Cuban citizens since the 1960s. Posada Carriles is implicated in the 1976 mid-air explosion of a Cuban plane in which all 73 passengers died.

Torrijos declared his wish to re-establish relations with Cuba during his investiture ceremony on September 1st where he also expressed regret at the actions of his predecessor in relation to the four terrorists.

Foreign Minister Lewis Navarro also said that efforts were being made to normalize relations with Venezuela that withdrew its Ambassador from Panama after ex-president Moscoso suggested that Posada Carriles would be killed if extradited to the South American country.