Cuba delegate reports ‘civilized’ talks on rights with US

1797520_357633554429466_3460296829630210547_nHAVANA,31 Mar. Cuban and U.S. delegations on Tuesday ended a preparatory meeting for holding future negotiations on human rights without setting a date, agenda or host for those talks.

The head of the Cuban delegation at the session in Washington, Foreign Ministry official Pedro Luis Pedroso, said at a news conference that the lack of details did not mean the negotiations would not be held. He said a decision on holding the talks would be reached during traditional diplomatic channels.

A U.S. government statement said only that both sides expressed a willingness to address a variety of topics at future talks.

The meeting took place as part of the effort announced by both nations in December to work to fully restore diplomatic ties after more than a half century of uneasy relations.

Earlier in the day, another Cuban delegate said the two sides held “a respectful, professional, civilized conversation.” Nevertheless, Anaysansi Rodriguez Camejo, Cuba’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, told Cuban state television that the session underlined “that there are differences” on issues of human rights.

The U.S. has been expected to press Cuba to allow its citizens greater freedom of speech, assembly and political activity. Cuba has often criticized the United States for poverty, insufficient health care coverage and excessive police force.