US, Cuba Hold Talks in Washington

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Above: Washington

By the Caribbean Journal staff

US and Cuban officials held their first bilateral migration talks since the beginning of 2011 on Wednesday.

The talks covered the implementation of the 1994 and 1995 US-Cuba Migration Accords, according to a release from the State Department.

The department said the agenda for the talks “reflected longstanding US priorities on Cuba migration issues.”

“The US delegation highlighted areas of successful cooperation in migration, including advances in aviation safety and visa processing, while also identifying actions needed to ensure that the goals of the accords are fully met, especially those having to do with safeguarding the lives of intending immigrants,” the department said.

The US said it also reiterated a call for the “immediate release” of Alan Gross, an American citizen who has been imprisoned in the Caribbean country since 2009 for what the US said was “solely for trying to facilitate communications between Cuba’s citizens and the rest of the world.”

The US side on the talks was led by Alex Lee, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, while Cuba’s delegation was led by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, the Director General for US affairs in Cuba’s Foreign Ministry.

In a statement, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said the talks had been held in a “climate of respect.”

Cuba said it “reiterated its willingness to maintain these exchanges in the future, given their importance to both countries.”

The two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.

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