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U.S. OFFICIAL TAPPED TO PUSH REFORM IN CUBA

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Commerce Undersecretary Stuart Eizenstat was named Friday as President Clinton's point man to deal with differences between the United States and its allies over the administration's Cuba policy.

Eizenstat, 53, spent three years as U.S. representative to the European Union before taking over recently as commerce undersecretary for international trade. He gained prominence in the late 1970s as President Carter's chief domestic policy adviser.A statement issued by the White House during Clinton's vacation said Eizenstat would attempt over the next six months to involve U.S. allies in "concrete measures to advance democracy in Cuba."

Clinton said he has also asked U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Al-bright and former Democratic Rep. Dante Fascell of Florida to serve as advisers on the promotion of Cuban democracy.

At a news briefing in Washington, Eizenstat said he will seek greater allied pressure on Cuba for political and economic reform and respect for human rights.

The allies also will be encouraged to channel assistance to groups promoting change in Cuba - human rights groups, dissidents and independent journalists, he said.

In addition, Eizenstat said he will press these countries to channel humanitarian assistance through nongovernmental organizations in Cuba rather than the Cuban government.

The United States and its trading partners - particularly Canada, Mexico and the European allies - are deeply divided over the new U.S. policy of punishing firms that do business in Cuba on property confiscated from Americans without compensation.

The Helms-Burton law, which Clinton signed in March, includes a provision that permits U.S. citizens to sue in American courts foreign companies that now "traffic" in such properties.

In his statement, Clinton noted that he also suspended the right to file such suits for six months to give time "to forge a common approach with our allies and trading partners to accelerate Democratic transition in Cuba."

"U.S. allies and friends have long shared this goal, but we have not always agreed on how to achieve it" Clinton said. "The time has come to take more concrete steps together."

Clinton said Eizenstat will consult with Cuban-American civic leaders - an important political element in this election year - as well as with members of Congress before traveling to Europe, Canada and Latin America to enlist cooperation from allied governments and private companies.

As provided by the law, Clinton said he will review progress at the and of the six-month period to determine whether the suspension of the right to sue will be continued.

"I am confident that the democratic values and far-reaching interests that we share with our allies and partners will allow us to overcome disagreements," the president said.