Cuba accepts US inivitation for talks on immigration

May 31, 2009

(ChattahBox) — After a half-century of chilly ties and an economic embargo things may be thawing out quickly between the US and Cuba. In March in what was perceived as an initial bid to rekindle a relationship with Cuba,, President Barack Obama eased restrictions on visits to the Communist island by Cuban-Americans and allowed them to send money and medicine home more easily. Cuba initially gave mixed signals about how willing it was to respond to the Obama administration’s overtures. Now a top US official said Cuba had sent a diplomatic note accepting a recent US invitation to restart talks on issues ranging from immigration, terrorism, disaster relief and drug trafficking cooperation. The communist nation also presented a separate note agreeing to a U.S. request proposing talks about direct mail service, which has been suspended for decades.

The news comes ahead of a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Honduras for a meeting of the Organization of American States, where Cuba’s possible readmission is expected to be discussed. The organization expelled Cuba in 1962, after Fidel Castro’s revolution moved the island toward communism and a close alliance with the Soviet Union. Previous high-level meetings between the two countries were held regularly in the mid-1990s, but the Bush administration suspended the immigration talks with the Cuban government in January 2004.

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