Washington.- Delegations from Cuba and the United State conclude today here a round of talks on the restoration of diplomatic ties, a meeting that sparked off expectations to announce progresses in the bilateral scenario.
The meeting held yesterday at the headquarters of the Department of State went on another day, reinforcing in sectors informed of the process, predictions of concrete accords on the resumption of the broken ties more than 50 years ago, by a Washington’s decision, and the opening of embassies in both capitals. After about seven hours of talks yesterday, the two sides issued brief statements and talked of the continuity of exchanges of criteria, led as in the previous meetings by diplomats Josefina Vidal and Roberta Jacobson.
Vidal is the director general of the United States department at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Jacobson, the assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Yuri Gala, member of the island’s delegation, told the Cuban press accredited to cover the talks that progress was made.
Several factors boost expectations that this new round conducts to announcements as those expected since the decision to begin the approach, stated on December 17, 2014 by Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama.
Cuban and U.S. officials have discussed in recent days with optimism the ongoing process, in addition of the activated procedure by Obama to exclude the island from the list of countries that, according to Washington, sponsor terrorism.
They also analyzed the solution to the problem of lack of banking services for the Havana Interests Section in Washington.
It is expected that during yesterday’s talks, both delegations have dealt with one of the most controversial issues of the dialogue, the behavior of the diplomatic staff prior to the respect of principles and standards reflected in the Vienna Conventions.
Washington demands freedom of movement for its officials, while the Caribbean island, whose representatives have the same restrictions, demands the end of encourage to subversion by that staff and the compliance with international behavior rules.
Such behaviors should be committed to sovereignty of the states and non-interference in their internal affairs, Havana states.
For Cuba, the restoration of relations and the opening of embassies would be an important step, but not the normalization of ties.
According to the island’s authorities, such normalization includes the end of the U.S. blockade, the return of the territory of the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo, and the end of the objective of regime change.
A new element to feed optimism and at the same time caution was the statements by the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, to Cuban journalists present here, who yesterday went to the headquarters of the U.S. executive power.
The spokesman stated that Obama “would give much pleasure to travel to the island, particularly Havana,” and stressed the potentialities of the Cuban market for the products of his country.
However, he reiterated Washington’s purpose to achieve “the change we would like to see in Cuba,” as well as the traditional accusations regarding human rights.
Written by Waldo Mendiluza, special correspondent