Cuba, US to discuss steps for normalisation of ties

Havana: A Cuba-US bilateral commission will meet in Washington on Tuesday to discuss further steps for normalisation of relations between the two countries, the Cuban foreign ministry has said.

At the meeting, the two parties will review the steps agreed to at the commission’s fist meeting on September 11 in Havana, the results of the past few months of detente, and other pending issues between the two countries, including revocation of the decades old US embargo on Cuba, Xinhua quoted a ministry statement as saying on Thursday.

“The bilateral commission will define new steps that both sides will take in coming months, such as possible agreements, technical meetings in areas of common interest and high-level visits, as part of the process toward the normalisation of relations,” the statement said.

The US delegation will be led by Alex Lee, deputy assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, while the Cuban team will be headed by Josefina Vidal, director general of the US division at the Cuban foreign ministry.

The creation of the bilateral commission was announced on August 14 in Havana, during a visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, who re-opened the US embassy in Cuba.

Cuba and the US restored diplomatic relations in July, after half a century of political antagonism.

However, before ties are fully normalised, Havana is demanding the end of the blockade, the return of the territory occupied by the US naval base in Guantanamo, and compensation for the damage caused by decades of economic sanctions.