Cuba Migration Talks

Press Statement
Ian Kelly
Department Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 14, 2009

On Tuesday, July 14, the United States and Cuba met to discuss implementation of the U.S.-Cuba Migration Accords. This was the first such meeting since 2003. In the course of the meeting, the U.S. team, led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Craig Kelly, reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to promote safe, orderly, and legal migration. Engaging in these talks underscores our interest in pursuing constructive discussions with the government of Cuba to advance U.S. interests on issues of mutual concern.

The U.S. delegation highlighted areas of successful cooperation in migration, while also identifying issues that have been obstacles to the full implementation of the Accords. The agenda for the talks reflected long-standing U.S. priorities on Cuba migration issues, including: ensuring that the U.S. Interests Section in Havana is able to operate fully and effectively; gaining access to a deep water port for the safe repatriation of migrants; ensuring that the American consular staff at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana are able to monitor the welfare of repatriated migrants; and gaining Cuban government acceptance for the repatriation of all Cuban nationals who are excludable on criminal grounds. The United States views these talks as a venue to achieve practical, positive results that contribute to the full implementation of the Accords and to the safety of our citizens.

PRN: 2009/728