Havana, July 12 (IANS) Cuba has urged the US government to comply with the 1994 migration agreements which stipulate 20,000 immigrant visas should be granted annually to Cuban nationals, pressing Washington to restart consular services in Havana.
According to a statement by the Cuban Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, the two countries held a meeting in Washington to discuss migration issues as part of their limited diplomatic ties, which deteriorated after US President Donald Trump came to power, reports Xinhua news agency.
“The Cuban delegation stated that the decision to suspend visa processing services at the US embassy in Havana directly affects migratory relations, family ties, damages institutional exchanges and travel between the two countries,” the statement said.
Both sides acknowledged the benefits of the joint declaration in January 2017 ending Washington’s “wet foot, dry foot” policy on Cuban migrants, which since its adoption in 1995 has engaged in selective migratory treatment, granting residency to Cuban migrants touching US soil but deporting those spotted at sea.
“In this round of talks, both countries reviewed the bilateral agreements in order to guarantee a regular, safe and orderly migration, discourage irregular migration, as well as prevent and confront associated illegal actions,” it said.
The Cuban delegation stated it complies with its obligations regarding the bilateral accords and reiterated the island’s will to continue holding talks and deepen cooperation on migration-related issues, the statement said.
In 2015, Cuba and the US established diplomatic relations after decades of enmity.
One year later, former US President Barack Obama visited the island country.
However, when Trump took office in 2017, he rolled back the rapprochement and reduced the US-Cuba diplomatic engagement to the minimum level.