On January 21, Cuba and the United States began the highest level conversations to be held in decades to open the way toward the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and address other issues of bilateral interest.

A representative of Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign relations (Minrex) assured the press that the country is approaching these talks in a constructive spirit, aspiring to a respectful dialogue between equals, based on national sovereignty and reciprocity, which does not compromise the country’s independence or the Cuban people’s right to self-determination.

“We must not pretend that everything can be resolved in a single meeting,” the diplomat said, as the first steps are being taken toward restoring diplomatic relations severed more than 50 years ago. He continued, “Normalization of relations is a much longer, complex process, during which issues of interest to both parties must be addressed.”

He added that the measures announced by President Obama are positive, but much remains to be done with respect to the economic, commercial and financial blockade, imposed unilaterally by the U.S. on Cuba.

The diplomat explained that, after the announcements made by Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro on December 17, the two parties agreed to change the agenda of a meeting already scheduled to discuss migratory issues.

On Wednesday the 21st and Thursday the 22nd, three meetings are planned to discuss the issue of migration, the initiation of the process to re-establish diplomatic relations, and other areas of mutual interest and cooperation.

The U.S. delegation is led by the State Department Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, the highest level official to visit the island since the 1970s.

Cuba is represented by Minrex general director for the United States, Josefina Vidal Ferreiro.