U.S., Cuba to meet over resuming mail services: report

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 17, 2013 9:46 AM
U.S., Cuba to meet over resuming mail services: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Cuban officials plan to meet this week to discuss the possibility of resuming direct mail services between the two countries after a 50-year ban, a report on Monday said.

Diplomats and postal service representatives will hold talks on Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington over the issue, despite stalled talks between the two countries on cases of suspected espionage, the Associated Press said, citing an unnamed U.S. official.

The official said members of Congress were expected to be informed of the talks starting Monday morning, according to AP.

Direct mail service between the United States and Cuba has been suspended since 1963, the report said. Despite the ban, letters and other mail still flow between the United States and the island nation 90 miles away through other countries, it added.

The talks are in line with the United States' interest "in promoting the free flow of information to, from and within Cuba," the official told AP, adding that they are not part of a shift in the Obama administration's Cuba policy.

Relations between the two countries have been frozen since Cuba's 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro.

The meeting this week comes amid stalled progress in the case of jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for installing Internet networks for Cuban Jews in a U.S. program Cuba considers subversive.

Cuba has hinted at a possible swap of five Cuban agents being held in the United States on espionage convictions - the so-called "Cuban Five" - for Gross, but the United States has rejected the idea.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; editing by Jackie Frank)