US-Cuba talks to resume in Washington this week
HAVANA, Cuba - With their sights set on the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, representatives of the governments of Cuba and the United States will meet in Washington on Thursday in the third round of talks between the two countries.
Gustavo Machin, deputy director general of the United States Office of the Cuban Foreign Ministry, said in conversation with reporters that the "fair decision of President Barack Obama of excluding Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring international terrorism – which should be effective on May 29 – creates an appropriate bilateral and regional context to move towards the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies."
Similarly, progress in efforts to resume banking services of Cuba's Interests Section in that country contribute to that progress in the talks.
In this round the delegations should talk about issues relating to the functioning of the diplomatic missions and the conduct of their officials.
"These are issues that have been discussed in the previous two meetings and will be tackled again," said Machin, who underlined that Cuba will insist on the "observance of principles and international law, endorsed by the UN Charter and the rules established by the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations."
Cuba has insisted that these diplomatic instruments must be the basis of bilateral ties and the operation of the respective missions, the official stated.
Machin emphasized that exchanges will be made on the operation of diplomatic missions, about which the Vienna Convention is very clear, and many other issues will also be tackled, among them the regime of movement of diplomats in both capitals.
Cuban President Raul Castro recently said in relation to the movement restrictions of US diplomats in Cuba that, as he told President Obama, what worries him most is that diplomats of that country continue doing here the illegal things they have been doing so far.
"And these things can not be allowed to happen," he stated.
"President Raul Castro was direct in his approach and in that sense is that the Cuban delegation will go to this third round of talks to hold exchanges with the US party on what the conduct of diplomatic missions should be, always on the basis of international regulations," Machin pointed out.
"None of the functions contained in the Convention indicate that embassies are educational centers and this is part of the behavior of a mission and of what we should discuss," added the deputy director.
Machin described the talks between the parties as professional and respectful, and said they have been developed in a constructive atmosphere, on equal terms and based on reciprocity.
In March, there was a meeting in Havana between the two parties to follow up the issues discussed during the two previous rounds of talks, which took place in late January in Havana and in February in the US capital.
Josefina Vidal, director general of the United States Office of the Cuban Foreign Ministry will travel to Washington as head of the island's delegation, while the US party to this round will be headed by Roberta Jacobson, US undersecretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.