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.