Resumption of ties depends on Washington: Cuban official

Resumption of ties depends on Washington: Cuban official
# 25 February 2015 23:12 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Restoring Cuba-U.S. diplomatic ties in time for a key hemispheric summit in April depends on Washington's willingness to create the right conditions, a senior Cuban official said Wednesday, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Gustavo Machin, deputy director for U.S. affairs at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, indicated removing Cuba from a list of countries alleged to be "sponsors of terrorism" was one of the measures.

The second measure was removing banking restrictions imposed a year ago on Cuba's diplomatic mission in Washington.

"We consider these issues to be important to creating the appropriate setting (for) re-establishing diplomatic ties and opening embassies," Machin told reporters.

"It would make no sense for us to re-establish diplomatic ties with the U.S. if Cuba remains on the list of countries that sponsor terrorism," said Machin.

The official, who is set to attend a second round of bilateral talks Friday in Washington to discuss the reopening of embassies, stressed that the Cuban delegation was heading to the meeting with a "constructive spirit."

Cuba was included in the U.S. State Department terror list in 1982, during the tail end of the Cold War, due to Havana's support of leftist guerrilla movements in Latin America. [ Washington has expressed its willingness to remove the island from the black list, which also includes Iran, Syria and Sudan.

The Organization of American States (OAS) will be holding a summit on April 10-11 in Panama, and both the U.S. and Cuba are expected to attend.

The two countries announced in December they agreed to restore diplomatic ties after more than half a century of animosity.

Machin has said that "resuming diplomatic ties" and "normalizing the bilateral relationship" are two different things.

"If we are going to speak of normalizing ties, the first thing (to do) would be to lift the blockade," he said, referring to the U.S.-led trade embargo against Cuba.