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High-Level USA-Cuba Talks
Feb 04, 2015

Two days of historic talks between the United States and Cuba had ended recently with both sides agreeing to meet again. The discussions had focused on restoring diplomatic relations but no date was set for the reopening of embassies.

Key Points of the Discussion

  • Negotiations between Cuban diplomats and the highest-level U.S. delegation to visit the island in 35 years failed to produce a single significant agreement—beyond the need for more talks.

  • The talks followed December's agreement by US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, to improve ties.

  • The United States and Cuba are trying to eliminate obstacles to normalized ties as the highest-level.

  • According to US normalising relations after decades of hostilities would take time.

  • The Cuban delegation chief said lifting the economic blockade against Cuba was essential.

  • No date had been set for the next round of discussions.

  • These were the highest-level talks in decades between the US and Cuba.

  • Cuba last week freed 53 political prisoners whose release the U.S. demanded.

  • The USA spoke of their action last week to ease travel and trade rules with the island.

  • Both countries have to overcome more than 50 years of a relationship that was not based on confidence or trust.

  • Cuba expected a new meeting to be scheduled in the coming weeks ahead of April's Summit of the Americas, which President Obama and President Castro expected to attend.

  • U.S. objectives during the talks included the lifting of restrictions on American diplomats in Cuba and assurances that Cubans will have unfettered access to a future U.S. Embassy in Havana.

  • The USA said the resumption in full diplomatic relations depends on how quickly its requests are met.

  • Cuba is demanding its removal from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, which USA is considering.

  • Cuba wants a normal relationship with the U.S., in the broadest sense but also in the area of migration.

  • Cuba called for the U.S. to end exceptional treatment that no other citizens in the world receive, causing an irregular situation in the flow of migrants.

  • USA pressed Cuba to take back tens of thousands of its nationals whom U.S. authorities want to deport because they have been convicted of crimes. No progress was made on that issue.

Discussions prove that despite clear differences that remain between the two countries, the United States and Cuba can find opportunities to advance their mutual, shared interests as well as engage in respectful and thoughtful dialogue.

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