Above: US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Officials from the United States and Cuba held high-level talks in Washington on Friday.
According to US Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, the talks, which focused on the potential reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two states, were “productive and encouraging.”
“In open, honest, and sometimes challenging yet always respectful conversation, we addressed the requirements of each side and the differences we identified in our first discussion in Havana a month ago, and we made meaningful progress towards resolving them,” Jacobson said. “While cognizant that serious disagreements between our governments remain, I am pleased to report that today we saw the type of constructive exchange that advances us toward a more productive diplomatic relationship.”
In a press conference, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, who is leading the Cuban commission in the talks, said she was “optimistic that in the coming weeks we can see results on these issues, which enable us to move toward the restoration of relations and the opening of embassies.”
The talks, the second of their kind since US President Barack Obama announced his administration’s historic rapprochement in December, will be followed by a series of new talks on different issues, Jacobson said.
This week, Cuba will send two delegations for talks on the trafficking in persons and civil aviation; this month, a delegation led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy Ambassador Danny Sepulveda will head to Havana for talks on increasing Internet connectivity.
Also this month, an interagency delegation will head to Cuba for talks on the recent US regulatory changes.
At the end of this month, the two sides have agreed to discuss the “structure of our human rights dialogue,” a major issue for both sides.
“Without ignoring challenges that remain, we are committed to the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, which will allow us to more effectively represent U.S. interests and increase engagement with the Cuban people,” Jacobson said.