Havana, Cuba, Mar 26 (acn) – Representatives of the governments of Cuba and the United States will hold talks on human rights on March 31 in Washington, announced in this capital Pedro Luis Pedroso, deputy director general of the Office of Multilateral Affairs and International Law of the island’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The official said the Cuban party expects a constructive dialogue, without conditions, on a reciprocal basis, with respect for the sovereign equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of each nation.
In this context, Cuba will talk about its achievements with respect to human rights, as illustrated in the last exercise of periodic review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
“We have goals to reach, like all nations, but we will set out the recognition of the international community to the important achievements of Cuba in the areas of education, health, access to cultural rights and also the island’s contribution to the development of many other countries where we have been present with cooperation,” stressed Pedroso.
The representative of the Foreign Ministry said that the Cuban delegation will also raise concerns about human rights in the United States and other places where that country has an impact.
“We have profound differences with the U.S. government, but these talks are a sign of Cuba’s willingness to dialogue with the U.S. on any topic, always on the basis of equality and reciprocity,” pointed out Pedroso.
As the Foreign Ministry had informed, Cuba proposed the United States in July 2014 to hold talks on human rights, a matter that was reiterated in January this year as part of the round of talks held in Havana where the island expressed its concerns about the guarantee and protection of human rights in the U.S.
To the talks in Washington on February 27, Cuba took a concrete proposal to address this issue bilaterally, on equal terms and with respect for the sovereignty of peoples, which is concreted with the talks of next week.
These meetings are part of the talks between the two governments, after the political decision to restore relations announced by presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama on December 17, which as already reiterated, will be a slow process that will take time.
Cuba and the United States are taking steps to reestablish the diplomatic bonds broken more than half a century ago, but the normalization of relations will be a much longer and complex process that will first go through the lifting the economic, commercial and financial blockade.
Author: Sergio Alejandro Gómez
The dialogue is scheduled for March 31 and Cuba hopes it will develop in a constructive environment and on a reciprocal basis
Delegations from Cuba and the United States will meet in Washington to discuss human rights, as agreed in the midst of talks to restore diplomatic relations, Pedro Luis Pedroso, deputy director general of Multilateral Affairs and International Law at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, revealed on Thursday in Havana.
Speaking at a press conference, Pedroso recalled that Cuba had proposed to hold a bilateral dialogue on this issue in July last year, which was repeated in January 2015 and accepted by Washington authorities.
The dialogue is scheduled for March 31 and Cuba hopes it will develop in a constructive environment and on a reciprocal basis, without conditions or discriminatory treatment, and with full respect for sovereign equality, independence and non-interference in the internal affairs of the parties, Pedroso stressed.
The Cuban diplomat said that the exchange will cover topics of interest to both countries and that the final agenda would be defined over the coming hours.
He noted that Cuba will demonstrate its achievements in the promotion and protection of all human rights, not only of its own people but also those of many nations with which it has cooperated in areas such as health and education.
He added that the country does not consider itself to be perfect and recognizes there remain important goals to achieve. However, he highlighted the recognition received at the last Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council, where the international community praised and commended Cuban achievements in areas such as education, health and access to cultural rights, and the contribution the island has made in those same areas in other countries.
Pedroso noted that the dialogue will also be an opportunity for Cuba to raise its concerns regarding the human rights situation in the U.S. and elsewhere where this country has a direct impact.
”These talks are an indication of Cuba’s willingness to address any subject with the U.S. despite our differences, based on equality and reciprocity,” he said.
“We are conscious of our profound differences with the U.S. government in terms of political systems, democracy, human rights and international law, and at the same time we maintain the unwavering will that both countries interact in a civilized fashion in recognition and respect of these differences,” he added.
Asked aboutthe possiblefrictionson specific topicssuch as politicalrights, Pedrososaid thatCubamaintains thatthere are differentpolitical anddemocraticmodels,and does not accept that a single model be established as a unique reference.
He also emphasized that international law recognizes the right of each country to establish the political system it considers most appropriate in accordance with its conditions, specific characteristics and historical, economic and social history.