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Posted January 15, 2004 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

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HAVANA, Jan. 7 (Xinhuanet)—The Cuban government on Wednesday refuted US charges that it was responsible for the cancellation ofa new round of immigration talks between the two countries, state-run daily Granma reported.

The Cuban Foreign Ministry instead accused the US government ofunilaterally canceling the talks and called it an “irresponsible act.”

The US government informed Cuba on Monday that it was impossible to start the new round immigration talks previously scheduled for Jan. 8, the statement said.

Washington blamed Cuba for intransigence, saying that it resulted in the failure of the talks. It added that the talks would be restarted only on conditions that “the Cuban authorities show a real interest in finding those very important aspects to achieve an orderly, legal and safe flow of immigrants.”

  The Cuban Foreign Ministry said those “very important aspects” are none other than issues that have been traditionally listed on the agenda of the US delegation, noting that Cuba has never rejected discussions about them.

  Spokesman for the US State Department Richard Roucher recently said the United States wanted to discuss such issues as the need for a deep-water port for repatriation and for restoring US accessto repatriated Cubans, but Cuba considered these issues as insignificant for the advancement of the migration accords.

  Talks over immigration between Cuba and the United States started in 1994 and take place every six months. They have been the only official contact between the two countries.

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