Wed May 27, 2009 6:08pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With Latin American countries pushing hard for
Cuba's re-entry into the Organization of American States, U.S. officials
said on Wednesday they would be willing to talk about the move if the
communist state adopts democratic principles.
The suggestion, included in a resolution submitted to a council meeting
of the hemispheric group, reaffirmed a long-standing U.S. position on
Cuba but also offered hints of the growing willingness for a dialogue
"Some of the circumstances since Cuba's suspension from full
participation in the Organization of American States may have changed,"
the U.S. resolution said, noting a "frank and open dialogue" was a
hallmark of multilateral relations.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the OAS general
assembly on Tuesday in Honduras, where a majority of the group's 34
members are likely to support Cuba's re-entry but no vote is expected.
The OAS council appointed a task force to evaluate the U.S. proposal and
two others that could more directly lead to reinstatement of Cuba,
suspended from the OAS in 1962.
Most Latin American countries have restored diplomatic relations with
Cuba and have pushed for an end to the decades-old U.S. embargo.
Clinton told Congress last week that the United States would not support
Cuba's re-entry to the OAS until it could embrace the democratic
principles outlined in the group's charter.
The U.S. resolution instructs the OAS council "to initiate a dialogue
with the present government of Cuba regarding its eventual reintegration
into the inter-American system consistent with the principles of
sovereignty, independence, non-intervention, democracy."
Hector Morales, the U.S. representative to the group, said Cuba's
re-entry into the OAS required a deliberate and well-considered process.
"It must and will depend more on what Cuba is prepared to do than on
what concessions we as an organization are prepared to make," Morales said.
President Barack Obama has taken steps toward a more open relationship
with Cuba, lifting restrictions two months ago on travel and remittances
to Cuba for Cuban-Americans with relatives on the island.
Last week, the Obama administration proposed the resumption of meetings
on migration between the two countries, which were ended by former
President George W. Bush in 2004.
But Obama has emphasized the need for Cuba to engage in democratic
reforms before additional steps can be taken to ease or end the American
(Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Will Dunham)
U.S. offers resolution on Cuba's re-entry into OAS | Reuters (27 May 2009)