US Expels 15 Cuban Diplomats, Draw Protest From Havana

Oct 05, 2017, 00:32
US Expels 15 Cuban Diplomats, Draw Protest From Havana

Likewise, the secretary of state assured that "We continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will continue to cooperate with Cuba as we pursue the investigation into these attacks".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the decision was made because Cuba failed to protect diplomats on its soil - without directly blaming Cuba for the attacks on Americans in Havana.

The sonic attacks on USA diplomats in Cuba resulting in the State Department pulling most of its personnel out of the American embassy in Havana has stumped the US government, and frayed the relationship between the two countries, the Miami Herald reported. He emphasised that the United States will maintain diplomatic relations with Cuba.

But he said his decision to withdraw 60 percent of USA diplomats from the embassy in Havana will remain in effect until Cuba can ensure that American diplomats there are safe. They reported a range of symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues and difficulty sleeping. But no such devices were found and the U.S. Embassy in Havana no longer considers that a likely cause.

But now both countries are poised to cut their embassies by more than half following uncanny, unexplained attacks threatening delicate ties between the Cold War rivals.

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We are, of course, closely monitoring and are in touch with USA, as well as Cuban authorities, and will act accordingly if anything warrants a change in our plans.

Last Friday, the USA administration announced that it was withdrawing 60% of employees of its embassy in Havana and suspending the issuance of United States visas in Cuba indefinitely.

The US and Cuban embassies were reopened back in 2015, when diplomatic relations between the two were restored after almost 55 years.

Following Trump's decisions on this issue, several voices described the U.S. State Department's measures as excessive and alerted how unsafe it would be for the normalization process of bilateral relations.

Last week, the USA announced that it was withdrawing 60 percent of its diplomats from Havana because they might be attacked and harmed if they stayed. Though bona fide diplomats have also been affected, it wasn't until USA spies, working out of the embassy under diplomatic cover, reported hearing freaky sounds and experiencing even stranger physical effects that the United States realised something was wrong, several individuals familiar with the situation said.

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"So the idea that over 20 Americans working for the State Department, working for the U.S. Embassy could be severely injured in Cuba and the Cuban government not know anything about it is ridiculous", he added.

The U.S. says at least 21 American government workers in Havana have been attacked.

In August, the State Department said it was confident that the attacks had stopped but later said that its Havana staff is still at risk.

"The Cuban government has never allowed and will never allow third parties to use its territory for such measures", he said, adding that his country is ready to continue active cooperation with the United States in investigating its concerns. The United States will formally ask Cuba to pull the diplomats, but won't expel them forcefully unless Havana refuses, the officials said. So we need to keep probing and figuring out what on earth has been going on.

"Regarding the attacks, there are now 22 persons medically confirmed to have experienced health effects due to the attacks on diplomatic personnel in Havana".

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