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US-Cuba rights talks ‘preliminary’ in nature

Washington (AFP) – A round of US-Cuban talks devoted to
will be “preliminary” in nature and used to set a format for future
discussions on the issue, the State Department said Friday.

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The encounter, to be held in Washington next Tuesday, would be the
latest in a series aimed at normalizing ties between the two Cold
War-era adversaries.

In announcing the talks on Thursday, Cuban foreign ministry official
Luis Pedroso said they showed Havana’s willingness “to take up with the
United States any subject, despite our differences, on the basis of
equality and reciprocity.”

The US delegation will be led by Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary of
state for democracy, human rights and labor, a State Department official
said.

The meeting is “to discuss the methodology and structure of future human
rights talks,” the official said.

“This preliminary meeting reflects our continued focus on human rights
and democratic principles in Cuba,” the official said. “Human rights are
and will continue to be a priority.”

The talks have advanced little by little since US President Barack Obama
and Cuba’s President surprised the world by deciding
December 17 to work toward restoring relations severed for more than 50
years.

Alternating between Havana and Washington, the talks have been broken up
into sessions devoted to specific issues.

A US delegation traveled to Havana March 25 to follow up on the
re-establishment of telecommunications links.

But the pace of the talks has left little time to achieve a full
restoration of diplomatic ties, with embassies reopening in both
countries, by the Summit of the Americas in Panama two weeks from now.

Cuba is slated to participate in the summit for the first time, and the
White House has expressed hope to reestablish relations by then.

Source: US-Cuba rights talks ‘preliminary’ in nature – Yahoo News –
http://news.yahoo.com/us-cuba-rights-talks-preliminary-nature-152311527.html;_ylt=AwrBJSDsrhVVOEQAdi3QtDMD

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