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US Congressmen
The bipartisan US Congress delegation led by Representative Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said "it is time for the United States to enter a dialogue with Cuba."

After a three-day visit to the island during which they held talks with seven high Cuban officials, including government, political and economic figures, Flake said to foreign and local media that they "unanimously believe the United States should respond positively" to the proposal made by Cuban first Vice President, Raul Castro on December 2.

The bipartisan group, made up of four Republicans and six Democrats, took turns making statements that mainly agreed on the need to lift the ban on travel to Cuba and the restrictions currently pending on the remittances made by Cuban Americans to their relatives in the island.

Greg Meeks, Democrat for New York, said what he learned in this visit is that US foreign policy must change not only concerning Iraq but also regarding our neighbor 90 miles away, on which we have imposed cruel restrictions for almost half a century and to no effect.

This is a golden opportunity to begin a dialogue, said Meeks.

The US and Cuba should be consulting regularly on migration issues, to protect national security and to save lives, as well as on how to fight drug trafficking, said Flake's written statement.

Other topics brought up by US Congresspeople was Cuba's offshore oil exploration, the possibilities to expand trade and other legal issues.

William Delahunt, Democrat for Massachusetts described the visit as very important and talks as very positive. Besides the issues in which we may differ, there are many things that bring us together, he said.

Several congresspeople deemed this as the first of many future visits and Representative Jeff Flake said "we have to change and move forward."

The mission held talks with Felipe Perez Roque, Minister of Foreign Relations, Ricardo Alarcón, President of the National Assembly, Yadira Garcia, Minister of Basic Industries, Francisco Soberon, President of the Central Bank, Fernando Remirez, International Relations Chief of the Communist Party's Central Committee and Pedro Alvarez, Director of Alimport.

Other meetings were held with Cardinal Jaime Ortega Alamino and diplomats accredited in Havana.

Source: Prensa Latina

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