Jul 18 2013, 2:18am CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr
Washington, July 18 (IANS/EFE) The Cuban delegation at the bilateral talks on immigration Wednesday in Washington said they valued the "respectful" tone of the dialogue but added that US policy continues to pose an obstacle for a controlled immigration flow.
"The Cuban delegation reiterates its willingness to pursue these exchanges in the future due to their importance for both countries," the Havana officials said.
However, as in earlier rounds of talks on the matter, Cuba "reiterated that the smuggling of emigrants will not be eliminated nor will legal, safe and orderly emigration between the two countries be able to be achieved while the 'wet foot, dry foot' policy and the Cuban Adjustment Act are maintained".
Those measures establish that Cubans who set foot on US soil may remain, while those intercepted at sea are returned to Cuba, which insists the policies "stimulate illegal emigration" from the island.
The Cuban delegation was headed by the foreign ministry's US desk officer, Josefina Vidal, and the US negotiators were led by State Department official Edward Alex Lee.
The Cuban delegation said that at the meeting the teams "reviewed the progress of the prevailing immigration accords between the two countries and evaluated the principles resulting from the actions undertaken by each of the parties and jointly to deal with illegal emigration and the trafficking in emigrants".
The US side said the dialogue on immigration was scheduled to focus on issues such as "the processing of the requests of refugees, immigrant visas" and other matters designed to "facilitate the regular flow of migrants".
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