US, Cuba planning on informal meetings, say officials

April 27th, 2009 - 1:03 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Apr.27 (ANI): The Obama administration is quietly pushing forward with efforts to reopen channels of communication with Cuba, according to White House and State Department officials.

A New York Times report quoted officials as saying that informal meetings were being planned between the State Department and Cuban diplomats in the United States to determine whether the two governments could open formal talks on a variety of issues, including migration, drug trafficking and other regional security matters.

Washington is also looking for ways to open channels for more cultural and academic exchanges between Cuba and the United States, the officials said.

The next steps, said a senior administration official, would be meant to “test the waters,” to see whether the United States and Cuba could develop a “serious, civil, open relationship.”

After saying the United States was “ready to talk about a series of issues,” the official added, “This thing with Cuba is going to take a lot of time, and it may not work.”

Officials who discussed the plans did so on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the efforts.

The details and scope of the administration’s outreach to Cuba are still being worked out, they said.

Obama has been facing mounting pressure from Latin America and from his supporters in this country to do more to reverse the United States’ 47-year-old trade embargo against the Castro dictatorship. (ANI)

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