According to sources from the two countries, the meetings at the US Department of State will focus on the resumption of relations, broken more than half a century ago by the White House, the opening of embassies in Havana and Washington, and their work.

They also noted the favorable environment to make progress in the process to normalize bilateral relations, announced on December 17, 2014, by Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, who held a historic meeting in Panama, parallel to the 7th Summit of the Americas last month.

In statements to reporters in Havana, Foreign Ministry official Gustavo Machin highlighted the positive context for the new round of talks.

Like on this occasion, the general director of the United States Department at Cuba's Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal, and the US assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, headed the previous meetings on January 22 in Havana, February 27 in Washington and March 16 in Havana. Cuba described the latter as a follow-up meeting.

President Obama's decision to remove Cuba from the list of States sponsors of terrorism and the progress made to guarantee the banking services of our mission in Washington create an enabling bilateral scenario, Machin said on Monday.

According to the official, Cuba will insist on Thursday on the respect for the international principles and instruments that govern diplomatic relations.

Cuba denounces that representatives at the US Interests Section in Havana violate the Vienna Convention on diplomacy, due to their participation in activities aimed at creating domestic subversion.

A common interpretation of that Convention must be found prior to the resumption of relations, based on strict compliance with the mechanism adopted by Cuba and the United States, Machin stressed.

A source from the US Department of State who preferred to remain anonymous said over the telephone on Wednesday that there is a sense of commitment to making progress, boosted by the two presidents' meeting in Panama.

Cuba's delegation, headed by Vidal, arrived in Washington on Wednesday to participate in a meeting that has created expectations.

In addition to the previous rounds on the reestablishment of diplomatic ties and the opening of embassies, the two parties have held technical contacts on matters of common interest such as migration, telecommunications, mail, and the prevention and response to oil spills in the high seas.

Other issues discussed by the two delegations include marine protected areas, nautical charts and hydrography, information technology and human rights.

Cuba welcomes the rapprochement with the powerful northern neighbor; however, it says that in order to generate a context of normalization between the two countries, Washington must end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba for more than half a century.

Cuba also demands the return of the territory of the Guantanamo Naval Base and an end to illegal radio and TV broadcastings that have accompanied the White House's plans for a regime change in Cuba.

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