US, Cuba restart migration talks after two-year break

July 18, 2013 04:09


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WASHINGTON - The United States and Cuba resumed immigration talks in Washington on Wednesday after a two-year hiatus and US officials said they had again pressed for the release of jailed American contractor Alan Gross.

The last migration roundtable between the United States and Cuba was in January 2011 when officials met in Havana.

The talks were led by Alex Lee, acting US deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, and Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Cuba's foreign ministry director general for U.S. affairs.

The State Department said the US delegation reiterated a call for the release of Gross, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for installing Internet networks for Cuban Jews as part of a US program that Cuba considers subversive.

Gross' arrest in late 2009 and sentencing in March 2011 halted a brief thaw in US-Cuba relations after Obama took office in January 2009.

The department said Lee made it clear that Gross was "trying to facilitate communications between Cuba's citizens and the rest of the world."

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