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Cuba and US negotiate six new cooperation agreements

Cuba and the United States are working on the negotiation of six new cooperation agreements in areas such as the implementation and enforcement of law, seismic monitoring and the exchange of meteorological information, said Josefina Vidal, general director for the United States of the Cuban Foreign Ministry.

The official said in an online interview on Twitter that these work commitments will also include protected marine areas, search and rescue, and the coordination of responses to spills of hydrocarbons and other substances in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Strait.

From Washington, at the end of the fourth meeting of the Bilateral Commission between the two nations, Vidal said that seven new high level visits in both directions were planned for the months of October and November, in addition to a dozen technical meetings on topics of common interest, like health, the environment, education and a wide gamut of bilateral and multilateral aspects.

She underlined that, in the Bilateral Commission, Cuba reiterated its condemnation of the programs that were attempted in the island without the authorization and approval of corresponding institutions, like the recent case of the World Learning scholarships for youngsters.

Vidal insisted on the need for the US government to eliminate the financing of programs aimed at causing internal changes in Cuba, an action she considered essential to normalize bilateral relations.

The diplomat said that, even though the US administration has approved the use of dollars by Cuba in its international financial transactions, so far the island has not been able to make any payment to third parties nor deposits in cash in that currency.

She emphasized that President Barack Obama has wide prerogatives to act in the economic-commercial sphere, as he did with telecommunications, and could authorize the export of more products to the island, as well as to allow US investments in Cuba.
Obama could normalize bank relations by allowing Cuban banks to have correspondent accounts in financial institutions of that country.

In Friday's talks, it was reiterated that in order to advance in the improvement of relations it will also be necessary to return the territory occupied by the US naval base at Guantanamo and that the Cuban Adjustment Act, the dry-feet-wet feet policy and the parole program for Cuban medical professionals are eliminated, which not only encourage the illegal and unsafe emigration of Cuban citizens but also deprive the island of vital human resources and create increasing difficulties to other countries.

The fifth meeting of the Bilateral Commission will take place in December, thus giving continuity to the process announced by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and US Secretary of State John Kerry after the re-establishment of diplomatic relations.

Vidal headed the Cuban delegation to the meeting, while heading that of the United States were Mari Carmen Aponte and Jonathan Finer, assistant secretary of state for Hemispheric Affairs and the director of policy planning at the State Department, respectively.

Courtesy: Caribbean News Now

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