Officials from the United States and the Cuban dictatorship concluded talks in Havana
The State Department spokesman said at a press conference that Washington “had no policy changes to announce” regarding Cuba's presence as sponsor of terrorism
FILE PHOTO: Cuban dictator Miguel Diaz-Canel during a visit to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin last November (Reuters)
A US delegation wrapped up two days of talks on implementation issues on Thursday of the law with officials of the Cuban dictatorship headed by Miguel Díaz-Canel in Havana, said the State Department, the first meeting of this type since the dialogues stopped during the government of the former president Donald Trump.
Washington's concerns about fighting terrorism were high on the agenda, US officials said. p>
Trump placed Cuba on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism shortly before his term ended in January 2021, and The administration of President Joe Biden has been reviewing the matter since he took office.
This week's meetings marked a revival of dialogue on law enforcement, which began in 2015 under former President Barack Obama but came to a halt in 2018 when Trump reversed his predecessor's historic détente with the island.
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Biden, who served as Obama's vice president, began to reverse some of Trump's policies, but upheld others, insisting that >the Cuban dictatorship must improve its human rights record after the repression of the protests in 2021.
“This type of dialogue improves the national security of United States through better international law enforcement coordinationthe State Department said. But he stopped short of announcing any agreement. A little later, the regime's foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, said on his Twitter account that the bilateral talks benefit both neighboring countries. The two delegations agreed to continue these meetings.
“Bilateral cooperation to confront scourges such as terrorism, the smuggling of migrants and immigration fraud benefits both countries and we are committed to it despite the economic blockade and the incessant hostility of the US against #Cuba,” Rodríguez wrote. .
The talks, which included the Department of State, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the FBI, immigration officials and the Coast Guard, focused on combat cybercrime, terrorist threats and drug trafficking.
FILE PHOTO: Cubans queue to enter the United States embassy in Havana, on January 4, 2023. The humanitarian and social crisis and the violation of human rights in Cuba cause thousands of Cubans to want to flee the country (Reuters)
US officials did not respond to a question from Reuters whether the agenda included a discussion about the possible removal of Cuba from the list of sponsors of terrorism. Cuba has described the designation as “slander” and a false pretext to punish it economically.
When asked about the issue, a State Department spokesperson said: “After careful review of all available information and intelligence, the Secretary of State will only designate or rescind SST designations after concluding that a country meets the relevant legal criteria in accordance with applicable law.”< /p>
When asked if the United States was considering removing Cuba from the list, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel, told a press conference that he “had no policy changes to announce” and said the Havana talks were specifically related to security.
It was the first delegation from the Biden administration known to have traveled to the island this year and seemed to signal a greater openness to address specific issues of mutual interest despite the icy relationships. The State Department said that “this dialogue does not affect the administration's continued focus on critical human rights issues in Cuba”.
( With information from Reuters).-