United States and Cuba Hold Seventh Bilateral Commission Meeting
The United States and Cuba held the seventh Bilateral Commission meeting in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 14. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs John Creamer led the U.S. delegation. The Cuban delegation was led by Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, the Foreign Ministry’s Director General for U.S. Affairs.
The United States reiterated the urgent need to identify the source of the attacks on U.S. diplomats and to ensure they cease. We also reiterated that until it is sufficiently safe to fully staff our Embassy, we will not be able to provide regular visa services in Havana. We expressed our continued concerns about the arbitrary detention of independent journalists and human rights defenders. The United States acknowledged progress in repatriating Cubans with final orders of removal from the United States, but emphasized Cuba needs to accept greater numbers of returnees.
The delegations also reviewed other areas for engagement that advance the interests of the United States and the Cuban people including combatting trafficking in persons; facilitating safe civil aviation; law enforcement cooperation; agricultural cooperation; maritime safety and search and rescue cooperation; resolution of certified claims; advancing understanding of environmental challenges; and protecting the national security and public health and safety of the United States.
The delegations agreed to hold the next rounds of the biannual Migration Talks and the Law Enforcement Dialogue this summer. The Bilateral Commission last met in September 2017.