US, Cuban negotiators to hold immigration talks

US & Cuban negotiators will meet Friday for 3rd round of immigration talks since Obama took office, a spokesman at US Interest Section in Havana announced.

Updated: Jun 13, 2010, 17:41 PM IST

Havana: US and Cuban negotiators will
meet Friday for the third round of immigration talks since
President Barack Obama took office, a spokesman at the US
Interest Section in Havana announced.

US and Cuban representatives will meet on June 18 in
Washington, the spokesman said in a brief statement late
Saturday.

Immigration is a thorny issue between the two
countries, which have had no formal diplomatic ties since
1961.

Since taking office the Obama administration has held
talks with Havana on issues like migration, mail exchanges,
quake relief for Haiti and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Cuba has a longstanding interest in migration dialogue
with the United States as it seeks to stem persistent illegal
US-bound emigration of its nationals across the shark-infested
Florida Straits.

Havana accuses Washington of encouraging Cubans to
leave the island through a 1966 measure that grants them
automatic US residency if they reach the United States.

Washington in turn says that Cubans want to flee the
island seeking personal freedom and better economic
opportunities.

Despite the lack of diplomatic ties US-Cuban
immigration talks had been conducted every two years, but
broke down in 2003 under then-president George W Bush.

The new round of talks follow negotiations held in
February in Havana, and a July 2009 meeting in New York.

PTI