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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Hungary in asylum spat with Cuba
Cuba map
Hungary has angrily rejected criticism from Cuba over its decision to grant asylum to 29 Cubans.

The Cuban state newspaper Granma called Hungary's behaviour towards the US "servile" and accused it of being "an accomplice of the Empire".

Hungary's foreign ministry hit back on Thursday, saying it "firmly rejects" Cuba's criticism. It said asylum was being granted for humanitarian reasons.

The US is holding the 29 - picked up at sea - at its Guantanamo Bay naval base.

They are among 44 Cubans being held there while the US arranges asylum destinations for them.

Seventeen of the Cubans had gone on hunger strike over their conditions at the base, but they ended it on 17 August after Hungary had announced its asylum offer.

Cuba and Hungary used to be Soviet bloc allies before the collapse of communism.

The Hungarian statement said Hungary "maintains critical dialogue with the Cuban government, while aiming to establish widespread contacts with representatives of the civil society and the peaceful opposition".

It said Hungary wanted to "encourage democratic development" in Cuba.




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