HAVANA, August 14, 2015. In the morning of Friday, August 14, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, welcomed his U.S. counterpart, John Kerry, at the headquarters of the Cuban Chancellery.
During the meeting, which took place in a respectful and constructive atmosphere, the Cuban Minister and the US Secretary addressed aspects of bilateral interest, including the steps that both countries should take to move towards the normalization of relations.
They both agreed on the creation of a bilateral commission to define the topics that should be addressed during the stage that initiates after the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, including the issues that have remained pending of solution for the last five decades.
The commission will also examine potential cooperation in new areas of common interest. Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Rodriguez Parrilla agreed on the importance of consolidating the already existing mechanisms of bilateral cooperation and expand them to include new areas such as environmental protection, health care, science and law enforcement.
Foreign Minister Rodríguez Parrilla reiterated to the U.S. Secretary of State that the total lifting of the blockade is essential, so that both countries could have normal relations, as well as the return of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base, the compensation to the Cuban people for human and economic damages, and full respect for the sovereignty of Cuba. Likewise, in recognizing that President Obama has said to be in favor of the lifting of the blockade and has urged Congress to do so, he emphasized that the U.S. dignitary is vested with executive powers that enable him to continue adopting measures to modify its implementation and contribute to its dismantling.
Furthermore, Foreign Minister Rodríguez reiterated to Secretary Kerry the Cuban government willingness to work for the normalization of relations, on the basis of respect and equality, without any prejudice to Cuba’s independence and sovereignty and without any interference in Cuba’s internal affairs. He added that despite our differences, it is possible for the governments of Cuba and the United States to build civilized and respectful relations, different in nature from those that had existed throughout our past history, putting special emphasis on cooperation in multiple areas of mutual interest and benefit.
(Text and photo from Cubaminrex)