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Cuba lauds mail talks with U.S., but wants changes

From Patrick Oppmann, CNN
updated 5:34 PM EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. and Cuban officials held talks about mail delivery
  • Mail service has been suspended for 50 years
  • Cuba said talks were positive, but wants changes in U.S. policy

(CNN) -- U.S. and Cuban officials met this week to discuss the future postal service between the two countries, which was suspended 50 years ago. But a change anytime soon is not likely.

The Cuban delegation, in a statement, called the talks satisfactory, but added that mail service could not resume as long the U.S. embargo on the communist country remains in its current state.

The Cubans made it clear that "it would not be possible to implement a stable, quality and safe postal service ... as long as the obstacles resulting from the blockade policy imposed by the United States Government against Cuba are not removed," the statement said.

But before the meeting, U.S. officials had made it clear that a change in policy is not on the horizon.

"The reason we're doing this is because it's, of course, good for the Cuban people," she said. "This is something we feel is good for us, but it's not meant to be a signal of anything or indicate a change in policy," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Nonetheless, the Cubans considered the talks "fruitful" and said follow-up talks will come in the coming months.

The talks come as Washington and Havana have been at odds over the fate of U.S contractor Alan Gross, who was arrested in 2009 and is serving a 15-year prison sentence for bringing Internet access equipment to Cuban Jews. The Cuban government considers that action subversive.

CNN's Jill Dougherty contributed to this report.

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