|Gustavo Machín, deputy director general of U.S. Department at Minrex|
On January 22, 2015, talks between delegations of the United States and Cuba were held to define the steps to take in order to formalize the decision announced by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama on December 17, 2014, to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries. The US delegation was led by Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Department, Roberta S. Jacobson, and the Cuban delegation by the director general of Foreign Ministry's United States' Department, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro.
In the meeting, which took place in a respectful and constructive climate, the Cuban delegation said that diplomatic relations must be based on the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter, including it sovereign equality, equal rights and self determination of peoples, and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states. They must also abide by the Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, which regulate the conduct of diplomatic and consular missions and their staff.
Both delegations exchanged views on the procedures for the restoration of diplomatic relations on a date to be determined and decided to continue discussions on this topic, in order to define the steps to be taken for the opening of their respective embassies and conducting visits high level.
The Cuban representatives reiterated their deep concern, because for almost a year, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington has lacked a bank to conduct their operations, due to the escalation of the financial measures of the blockade of Cuba and the unjust permanence of Cuba on the list of "state sponsors of international terrorism," which causes serious damages to its operation and is contrary to the obligation of states to ensure all facilities for the performance of the functions of diplomatic missions.
The Cuban side addressed in this context the issues that must be resolved as part of the process towards normalization of bilateral relations, in particular the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial blockade.
The Cuban delegation reiterated Cuba's willingness to continue a respectful dialogue with the Government of the United States, based on sovereign equality and reciprocity, without prejudice to national independence and self-determination of our people. It reaffirmed that both sides should focus on finding solutions to the problems we face and that, despite the profound differences between our governments, we must learn to live peacefully and civilly with these. It also ratified Cuba's will contribute to the improvement of bilateral climate and move towards normalization of relations.