Cuba-US resume talks to restore relations

Updated: 2015-03-17 09:31


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HAVANA - Cuban and US delegations began Monday a third round of talks aiming to restore diplomatic relations and open up embassies.

The meeting is a follow-up to the second round of talks on Feb. 27 in Washington, said a statement from Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MINREX).

The Cuban delegation is led by Josefina Vidal, director general of US division at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the US side is headed by Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the US State Department.

The negotiations take place following the agreement announced simultaneously by Cuban President Raul Castro, and his US. counterpart Barack Obama on Dec. 17 of last year.

The talks, which began on Jan. 21-22 in Havana, were the first by the two countries to resume bilateral diplomatic ties after more than half a century of confrontation.

Upon the completion of that historic meeting, both sides said the talks were "positive" and "productive", while admitting that the process will be "long" and "complex".

A second round was held on Feb. 27 in Washington, where the two delegations declared that negotiations took place in a "respectful "way with "progress", and stressed the importance of maintaining contacts despite "profound" differences.

The US team has reiterated its interest in opening the embassies before the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 10, when Cuba will participate for the first time as a guest.

Meanwhile, Cuba insists that future embassies are governed by the principles of the international law and the United Nations Charter, as well as the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

Moreover, Cuba demands to be excluded from the list held unilaterally by Washington of states that allegedly sponsor international terrorism.

Havana also holds that the United States must solve the provision of financial services to Cuba's Interests Section in Washington, which had not had a bank for its financial operations for over a year due to the laws of the economic blockade that the White House has maintained against the island country since 1962.