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Third meeting of U.S.-Cuba commission to be held in Havana

Third meeting of U.S.-Cuba commission to be held in Havana

The two former enemies will meet Monday to discuss mutual concerns
It will be the third meeting of the U.S.-Cuba Bilateral Commission
Cuba says it will raise U.S. embargo and return of Guantánamo base
BY MIMI WHITEFIELD
mwhitefield@miamiherald.com

The United States and Cuba plan the third meeting of a bilateral
commission set up to discuss issues of mutual concern on Monday in Havana.

The U.S.-Cuba Bilateral Commission was established last August following
a meeting by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez and Secretary of
State John Kerry, who was in Cuba for the official reopening of the U.S.
Embassy. It serves as a steering committee for the rapprochement process
and holds regularly scheduled meetings.

The Cuban delegation will be headed by Josefina Vidal, who directs the
U.S. Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Kristie Kenney,
counselor to the secretary of state, will lead the U.S. side.

During the session, the Cuban delegation will once again bring up its
key concerns — lifting the embargo and return of the U.S. Navy base at
Guantánamo Bay as essential to normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations — but it
also will raise the need to eliminate other U.S. policies it calls
“harmful to Cuba’s sovereignty.”

The United States said progress made during President Barack Obama’s
trip to Cuba in March would be reviewed.

“The United States and Cuba expect to plan continued engagements on
environmental protection, agriculture, law enforcement, health,
migration, civil aviation, direct mail, maritime and port security,
educational and cultural exchanges, telecommunications, trafficking in
persons, regulatory issues, human rights and claims for the remainder of
2016,” the State Department said in a statement.

During a news conference in Havana Thursday, Gustavo Machín, deputy
director of the U.S. office, said much more could be done to advance the
commercial and economic relationship between the two countries if the
embargo were lifted.

More progress, he said, has been made in cooperation on anti-drug
trafficking, migratory fraud and environmental cooperation, and the
United States and Cuba have signed nine agreements over the past 17 months.

Also on the agenda of the Monday meeting are a review of the agreements
reached during the last commission meeting in November, and further
actions that may be undertaken this year to “ advance the process to
improve” relations, Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said. That might include
more technical meetings, cooperation agreements, high-level visits and
further dialogues on topics of mutual interest.

Cuba and the United States began the process of rapprochement on Dec.
17, 2014, when both President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raúl Castro
announced the two countries were beginning the process of normalizing
relations after more than five decades of hostilities.

Source: Third meeting of U.S.-Cuba commission to be held in Havana | In
Cuba Today – www.incubatoday.com/news/article77225502.html

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