HAVANA, Jan. 31th A Cuban military delegation participated in a historic three-day long security conference sponsored by the United States military’s Southern Command, according to reports by the Associated Press news agency.
During the meeting, the first in over 50 years between Cuban and U.S. military officials, Havana welcomed plans for cooperation with Washington in regional security to safeguard peace,combat drug trafficking and terrorism.
“I think we’ve already seen Cuba’s active involvement in some of the regional challenges and healthcare and disaster response. We talked at some length about humanitarian assistance and disaster response exercises. Those sorts of activities. We share challenges with all of the countries across this region. Cuba is one of those countries in this region. And so I believe in the future we’ll have opportunities to find ways that we can work together,” said Kurt Tidd, new Admiral of the U.S. Southern Command.
Tidd also welcomed Cuba’s role in regional security and pledged cooperation between the two countries.
During the event, the participants addressed a range of issues, from counternarcotics and counterterrorism cooperation to aviation and maritime security, disaster relief, human trafficking and migration.
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The Cuban government’s decision to accept an invitation to the Caribbean Nations Security Conference in Jamaica represents a symbolic shift U.S-Cuban relations that normalized ties in December 2014.
The initial steps proposed for restoring ties included the re-establishment of the embassies in Havana and Washington; exchange of high-level officials’ visits; cooperation in areas such as health, migration, and disasters response.
The conference ended on Friday in Kingston of Jamaica, with the participation of over 70 representatives from various countries and organizations.
In a press conference following the event, Maj. Gen. Antony Bertram Anderson of the Jamaica Defense Force thanked the Cuban government for sending a delegation. He noted, however, that their presence was not a focus of attention.