In update on oil spill, official says the U.S. is 'unaware' of any offer of help from Cuba
From Thursday briefing by Philip J. Crowley, the State Department's spokesman, as transcribed by the State Department.
Q.: What can you tell us about the conversations with Cuba regarding the B.P. spill?
We know there have been some conversations, but now that the B.P. spill has gone into the flow and the loop and there's much more spread of this, what can you tell us about the update talks...
A.: Well, we have a regional responsibility to inform governments that might be affected by oil spills.
That includes Cuba. And both in writing and in word we have informed Cuba about the oil spill and fulfilled our responsibility.
We've done the same thing with Mexico. We've done the same thing with – I think there are other conversations going on the Bahamas today.
So, as we see that the spill has broader ramifications beyond the immediate coast of the United States, we have informed governments as we're required to do.
Q.: Are you able to – I mean, we've not had relationships – relations with Cuba. And so, in other words, this seems to be an instance where there is some conversations going on daily, I'm told. Can you tell us what the conversations have been?
A.: I'm not sure I'd characterize it as daily. We do have an interests section in Havana. We have the ability to communicate with Cuba when we need to. And in this particular case I think we have recently passed a diplomatic note to Cuba outlining our view of this ongoing disaster.
Q.: My understanding is that Cuba has responded in saying that they're willing to help in any way they can.
A.: I do not know if Cuba has responded.
Q.: Are you willing to accept Cuban help?
A.: I don't know that they've responded.
Q.: Can you take the question?
A.: Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I will take the question – I mean, I can actually answer this question. Are we aware that Cuba has offered assistance to the United States? I'm not aware of that. We'll take that question. I don't think that has occurred.
Q.: On the help issue, [...] has there been any update on whether the 17 countries, any of their help has been accepted?
A.: Yes, not at this point.
Source: MiaMi Herald /cuban_colada/