Cuba, US launch process of normalization with meeting of committee on negotiations

Cuban and U.S. diplomats have formally launched the process of normalizing the relationship between the two countries.

Small teams of negotiators met Friday in Havana as a steering committee charged with setting the agenda for talks on topics ranging from environmental cooperation to compensation for American properties confiscated by Cuba.

Josefina Vidal, Cuba's top diplomat for U.S. affairs, said the agenda had been divided into three tracks, with the first encompassing issues where there is significant agreement and the possibility of short-term progress. These include re-establishing regularly scheduled flights and combatting drug trafficking. A second track includes more difficult topics such as human rights. The third includes complex, longer-term issues like the return of the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay.

The steering committee will meet again in Washington in November.