United States and Cuba To Hold Fifth Bilateral Commission Meeting in Havana
Office of the Spokesperson
December 6, 2016
The United States and Cuba will hold the fifth Bilateral Commission meeting in Havana, Cuba on Wednesday, December 7. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mari Carmen Aponte will lead the U.S. delegation. Embassy Havana Chargé d’Affaires Jeffrey DeLaurentis and Deputy Assistant Secretary John Creamer will also attend for the United States. The Cuban delegation will be led by Josefina Vidal, the Foreign Ministry’s Director General for U.S. Affairs.
The meeting will provide an opportunity to review progress and engagement on a number of priorities since the last Bilateral Commission meeting in September 2016, including human rights, civil aviation, health, law enforcement, economic issues, claims, environmental protection, agriculture, migration, educational and cultural exchanges, and trafficking in persons.
Cuba and the United Sates will hold the fifth Bilateral Commission Meeting
[MINREX] HAVANA, December 6th, 2016. Delegations of Cuba and the United Sates will meet in Havana, on Wednesday, December 7th, on the occasion of the fifth meeting of the Bilateral Commission.
The Cuban delegation will be led by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Director General for US Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while the US delegation will be led by Mari Carmen Aponte, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
The agreements of the fourth meeting held on the past September 30th in Washington D.C. will be reviewed and an assessment will be made of the results attained ever since the establishment of the Bilateral Commission in August 2015 as a mechanism to follow up on the ties between the two countries after the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.
Likewise, the actions that will take place in the forthcoming weeks to advance in the process of improvement of relations will be defined, including the high-level visits, the new agreements of cooperation in areas of common interests, the technical meetings and the dialogues on issues of bilateral interest.
The Cuban representatives will reaffirm that the lifting of the blockade, the return of the illegally occupied territory of Guantanamo Naval Base and the elimination of other policies from the past will be essential for normalizing the relations between Cuba and the United Sates.
Mark C. Toner
Daily Press Briefing
December 6, 2016
QUESTION: The Cuban foreign ministry announced today that it’s moving forward with the United States on developing a road map deepening their detente. I’m just wondering what details you have on this for us and whether discussions with Cuba are being accelerated by both Havana and Washington before the new administration comes in place.
MR TONER: Yeah, so I don’t have a lot of details. I know that, as you noted, United States and Cuba are holding their fifth Bilateral Commission meeting. It’s in Havana. Wait, today’s not Wednesday. It’s tomorrow, I believe, and December 7th. And acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mari Carmen Aponte will lead the U.S. delegation. And obviously, our Charge d’Affaires in Havana, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary John Creamer will attend on behalf of the United States. So I don’t know – I don’t have a lot of details on what the deliverables will be coming out of that. We’ll certainly update as the meetings take place.
With regard to your last question: Is this an acceleration? Not at all. As I said, this is a long-scheduled meeting. I believe it might have been delayed somewhat because of the period of mourning after the death of Fidel Castro, but it was long-scheduled. As – yeah, go ahead.
QUESTION: Do you agree though with the characterization that this is drawing a road map deepening the detente between the U.S. and Cuba?
MR TONER: Well, I think it’s – in the sense that – yes, I mean, we’re talking about – it’s another opportunity to review progress, certainly, that we’ve been – that has been made since we made the decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and review progress on our engagement on a number of priorities. That includes, obviously, human rights, civil aviation, health, law enforcement, economic issues, claims, environmental protection, migration, educational, cultural exchanges, et cetera. So there’s a broad range of topics. Progress has not always been steady in all of them, but we certainly are striving to continue to make progress on all of them. And we’ll get – as I said, tomorrow I should have a better readout for you.
QUESTION: And some specifics on the --
MR TONER: Of course.
QUESTION: -- deliverables?
MR TONER: Yeah, I’ll try.