Cuba says talks with U.S. over claims cannot be rushed
HAVANA | BY SARAH MARSH
Cuba said on Monday it was not willing to rush talks with the United
States over multibillion-dollar claims and counter-claims and would
agree only to an accord that addressed the grievances of both sides.
Washington is seeking upward of $10 billion, mainly for properties
nationalized in Communist-run Cuba after its 1959 revolution. Havana,
meanwhile, wants at least $300 billion for economic damage wrought by
the U.S. trade embargo and for the harm caused by acts of what it
describes as U.S. aggression.
Settling the claims is key to normalizing relations between the former
Cold War foes. The two sides held their second round of talks on the
matter last week, after a first round last December.
A State Department official told reporters the United States wanted to
resolve the issue as quickly as possible and the two sides had agreed to
hold more regular meetings.
Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters this likely
was an "aspiration" of the State Department, given there had been no
actual agreement on future meetings.
"We have to follow the appropriate timetable. We cannot force it,"
Moreno said in a briefing on the talks in the Foreign Ministry.
Cuba and its northern neighbor re-established diplomatic relations a
year ago after decades of hostility and have since signed deals on the
environment, postal services and direct flights.
The two countries were not yet negotiating their respective claims,
Moreno said, but were holding informative talks on a matter of "highly
The Cuban government has reached settlements with other countries for
expropriated assets. But it cut off negotiations with the United States
when bilateral relations soured in the 1960s.
Moreno said the claims talks with the United States were much more
complex than they had been with Canada and European countries because of
the need to address damages caused by the trade embargo.
"We are talking about a process in two directions," Moreno said. "Cuba
will not accept unilateral solutions."
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Source: Cuba says talks with U.S. over claims cannot be rushed | Reuters