US, Cuba to discuss renewal of direct mail service

Washington, June 18 (IANS/EFE) The US and Cuba will discuss this week the possibility of re-establishing direct mail, suspended 50 years ago, a State Department spokesperson told EFE Monday.

Talks of a “technical” nature will take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington among officials of the State Department, the US Postal Service and the Cuban government, said the spokesperson.

“We think that re-establishing a direct mail service is consistent with our interest in promoting a free flow of information to, from and within Cuba,” the official said.

The spokesperson said the talks “do not imply any change in United States policy toward Cuba”.

Cuba and the US have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, and the postal service between the two countries was interrupted in 1963, a year after Washington imposed an economic and trade embargo.

All mail must be sent through third countries.

These talks are the first on the matter since September 2009 in Havana, the spokesperson said.

That meeting ended with the two sides intending to continue work on the problem to find a solution.

Nonetheless, the arrest two months later of US contractor Alan Gross, later sentenced to 15 years in prison for subversive activities, froze talks in general between Washington and Cuba.

The State Department spokesperson did not say why discussions of the matter are being resumed.

–IANS/EFE

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