Josefina Vidal, (second from right) with members of the Cuba delegation. Photo: Ismael Francisco

On Tuesday, May 12, the Cuban delegation to the third round of talks with the United States arrived in Washington; a continuation of the bilateral conversations initiated at the end of January. This session will focus on the process of reestablishing diplomatic relations.

As in the previous talks with representatives of the U.S. government, the Cuban delegation is presided by Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Ministry of Foreign Relations general director for the UnitedStates.

President Barack Obama’s just decision to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of international terrorism, which will come into effect as of next week, has created an fitting bilateral and regional context in which to hold the conversations, which aim to advance toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of embassies in both nations.

In this sense the Cuban minister recently highlighted that progress made in efforts to resume banking services to the Cuban Interests Section based in Washington, an issue highlighted by the Cuban delegation in previous talks, contribute to these advances.

The representatives of the two governments will also discuss aspects regarding the functioning of diplomatic missions and the behavior of their personnel.

Cuba will insist that the principles of international law, as established in the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations, be observed.

Last March, a meeting between the two delegations was held in Havana as a follow-up to issues addressed during the two previous rounds of talks, which took place at the end of January and February in Washington.

Vidal, and the other members of the Cuban delegation will partake in an intense program of activities during their stay in the U.S. capital.

For this round of conversations, the U.S. delegation will be led by Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

The process of conversations between the two nations forms part of a new stage of Cuba-U.S. relations initiated on December 17, by Presidents Raúl Castro and Barack Obama, who announced the commencement of dialogues working toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations.