Press Release issued by the Cuban Delegation to the talks about the resumption of diplomatic relations with the United States
On January 22, 2015, talks were held between delegations of the United States and Cuba aimed at defining the steps that are to be taken with the purpose of formalizing the decision announced by Presidents Raúl Castro Ruz and Barack Obama on December 17, 2014, to resume diplomatic relations between both countries. The US delegation was headed by Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; and the Cuban delegation was presided over by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Director-General of the US Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, which was held amidst a respectful and constructive climate, the Cuban delegation stated that diplomatic relations should be based on the principles of International Law and the UN Charter, which include the principles of sovereign equality, equal rights, the self-determination of peoples, and non-interference in the internal affairs of States. Likewise, the Cuban delegation stated that diplomatic relations should be guided by the Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations which govern the functioning of diplomatic and consular missions as well as of their officials.
Both delegations exchanged views on the procedures for the resumption of diplomatic relations on a date to be determined and agreed to follow up on the talks on this issue with the purpose of defining the steps that are to be taken to open the respective embassies and pay high level visits.
The Cuban representatives ratified their profound concern because, for almost one year now, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington has been unable to find a bank willing to process their financial transactions due to the tightening of the blockade’s financial measures and Cuba’s unjust permanence in the list of “Countries that Sponsor International Terrorism”, which seriously hampers its functioning and is contrary to the obligation of States to guarantee every facility required for the performance of the functions of diplomatic missions.
Furthermore, the representatives of Cuba addressed the issues that need to be resolved as part of the process with a view to normalizing bilateral relations, particularly the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.
The Cuban delegation reiterated Cuba’s willingness to continue having a respectful dialogue with the US Government, based on sovereign equality and reciprocity, without prejudice to the national independence and self-determination of our people. It reaffirmed that both parties should focus on the search for a solution to the problems that we face and that, despite the profound differences that exist between our two governments, we should learn to coexist with them in a peaceful and civilized way. Likewise, it ratified Cuba’s willingness to contribute to the improvement of the bilateral climate and advance towards the normalization of relations.
Josefina Vidal (AUDIO)
Statement by Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Talks to Re-establish Diplomatic Relations
Today, January 22, 2015, U.S. and Cuban officials met in Havana to discuss the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. The Cuban delegation was led by the Foreign Ministry’s Director General for U.S. Affairs, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro. I led the delegation for the United States.
This first round of talks has been a positive and productive dialogue. We discussed in real and concrete terms the required steps for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. We discussed the opening of embassies in our respective countries, and how we expect the U.S. Embassy in Havana to operate.
The new regulations announced by the United States Treasury and Commerce Departments last week demonstrate the breadth and depth to which the United States has already implemented the President’s commitment to a new direction for United States policy on Cuba. Our efforts to normalize relations will be a continuing process that goes beyond establishing diplomatic relations or opening an embassy. Today, we have made further steps in this new direction.