U.S.-Cuba Talks on Restoring Diplomatic Ties End Abruptly
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLDMARCH 17, 2015
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MEXICO CITY — The United States and Cuba have ended their third round of
talks on re-establishing diplomatic relations as abruptly as the meeting
was announced, with no breakthrough on sticking points and in an
atmosphere of rising tension over Venezuela.
A small group of American officials led by Roberta Jacobson, the top
United States diplomat for Latin America, arrived in Havana on Sunday
and met with Cuban counterparts on Monday. The talks ended without any
public comment and despite earlier remarks by senior officials at the
State Department who had contemplated an open-ended meeting that could
last to midweek.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry released a short statement Tuesday
acknowledging the meeting and saying that it had been conducted in a
“professional atmosphere.” Talks would continue in the future, it said.
Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, made similar comments in
Washington, saying that the discussions had been “positive and
constructive” and that progress had been made, but she declined to say
Both sides have been working toward an agreement, anticipating setting a
date for reopening embassies before heads of state from the hemisphere
gather in Panama April 10-11 for the Summit of the Americas, which both
President Obama and President Raúl Castro plan to attend.
Although Mr. Obama has said he hopes the embassies will be established
before the summit meeting, Ms. Psaki seemed to back away from that
expectation, saying, “I don’t think we set a timeline or a deadline.”
She added, “You obviously have to make progress on these specific issues
and get agreement on what needs to be done. Obviously, we’ll continue to
work on that.”
The Cuban statement on Tuesday came as Mr. Castro arrived in Caracas,
Venezuela’s capital, for a meeting of left-leaning nations to show
solidarity with President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela. Mr. Maduro has
rallied patriotic sentiments in Venezuela after the United States called
his country an “extraordinary threat” to national security and imposed
new sanctions on several military and law enforcement officials it has
accused of violating human rights and democratic due process.
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