US officials and Cuban today welcomed the quality of the first high-level discussions held between the two countries for 35 years, despite persistent disagreements on migration issues.

After initial discussions on this topic on Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Americas, Alex Lee, welcomed to the press “productive” discussions, he said, in a spirit of “collaboration”.

This “proves that despite the differences that remain between our countries, the United States and Cuba can find ways to move towards each other’s interests,” he has said.

For its part, the director of the United States to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, Josefina Vidal, described the discussions as “constructive”, although it was mostly a handshake after the historic announcement of the restoration of their diplomatic relations on 17 December.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Under Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Roberta Jacobson, landed in Havana, becoming the first US official of that level to set foot on the communist island since 1980.

Ms. Jacobson has to participate Thursday in trading on the restoration of diplomatic relations severed in 1961, including the reopening of embassies is the most anticipated pane.

In this regard, the Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday in Washington that he expected, when “appropriate” to go to Cuba “to officially open an embassy there and begin to move forward,” but he did no advanced notice.

– Cuba wants a normal relationship ‘-

The first phase of the discussions, Wednesday devoted to the review of the migratory agreements signed in 1994, was primarily an opportunity for these remote country of less than 200 km to reaffirm their positions, the debates will be expected to produce an agreement.

The Cuban side reiterated its opposition to American “Adjustment Act” which offers installation benefits to Cuban immigrants, and the policy of “dry feet, wet feet”, which provides installation facilities in the United States for Cuban illegal affecting land and repatriation of migrants intercepted at sea.

These rules “violate the letter and spirit” of the migration accords in 1994, protested Ms. Vidal, ensuring that they “continue to be the main stimulus of immigration illegal, the emigrant traffic and illegal entries US via third countries of Cuban citizens who legally travel “in these countries.

She also denounced the maneuvers to encourage Cuban health personnel in mission abroad to defect, which confines it according to a “flying brains.”

“Cuba wants a normal relationship with the United States , but also at large on migration issues, “she insisted.

Faced with these criticisms, Alex Lee politely posted a plea in the Cuban side, while stressing the historical significance of these discussions.

“We explained to the Cuban government that my government is determined to continue to apply the Cuban Adjustment Act, and to ensure that (…) the policy + wet foot dry foot + remains in place,” a- he argued.

– Commitment and Dialogue ‘-

Meanwhile, Lee emphasized that these discussions “reflect the emphasis on engagement and dialogue” between the parties. “We look forward to further progress on these issues,” he concluded.

In the evening, Ms. Jacobson has to attend a “working dinner” with Cuban officials, according to the State Department. Joined by AFP , a US source could not say if a meeting with President Raul Castro was scheduled.

Tuesday night, President Barack Obama called for “extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people.”

As part of the merger, the White House said it will soon submit to US lawmakers to lift the embargo commercial and financial embargo on the communist island since 1962, even though the Republican majority in Congress announced its opposition to the project .

Last week, Washington also raised a series of trade restrictions on travel and remittances eased Cuban migrants.

Havana has in turn freed 53 political prisoners on a list presented by the United States.

But “we are under no illusion about what government and its willingness to apply these universal rights’, recently admitted to the State Department, while Ms. Jacobson will meet with Cuban dissidents Friday.

Although a large majority of Americans welcome the change of policy towards Cuba , many Republicans and some of Cuban dissidents criticized Washington for failing to get anything in return.

In Havana , the Foreign Ministry insisted Tuesday on concern the communist regime to focus on respect for “different political views,” calling for talks without “obstacles to the sovereignty” of the island.