Cuba has freed some of 53 people the United States regards as political prisoners as agreed under last month's US-Cuban rapprochement and Washington wants to see the rest released soon, the US State Department said on Tuesday.
They have already released some of the prisoners, we would like to see this completed in the near future, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, saying she would not provide a specific number.
The release of all 53, however, is not a pre-condition for holding talks on migration and on the eventual normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba that are scheduled to take place later this month, the spokeswoman said.
Psaki said she was unable to say exactly when those talks, to be led by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson on the US side, would take place, adding we hope to have that locked down in the coming days.
Psaki had said she was unable to say whether any of the 53 had yet been freed. Their promised release was part of US President Barack Obama's Dec. 17 announcement that he planned to normalize relations with Cuba after decades of hostile relations with the island.
The planned normalization of relations was partly brokered by Uruguayan president Jose Mujica who has excellent relations both with Obama and Raul Castro. The exchange of prisoners and future talks also included Uruguay taking as refugees six Guantanamo inmates imprisoned since over a decade following the Bush administration's combat on terrorism.