U.S., Cuban of­fi­cials meet over ‘at­tacks’

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - CLASSIFIEDS - Matthew Lee

WASH­ING­TON — Na­tional se­cu­rity agen­cies and mem­bers of Congress are frus­trated by the lack of an­swers about what the U.S. de­scribes as “health at­tacks” that have in­jured Amer­i­can diplo­mats in Cuba.

A meet­ing Thurs­day be­tween U.S. and Cuban of­fi­cials was in­tended to try to help de­ter­mine the method and mo­tive be­hind those mys­te­ri­ous in­ci­dents that be­gan nearly two years ago and have af­fected about two dozen peo­ple, in­clud­ing some di­ag­nosed with brain dam­age.

A flurry of reports has sug­gested in­ves­ti­ga­tors have nar­rowed their sus­pi­cions as to the cause and cul­prit.

Cuba’s for­eign min­istry said nine mem­bers of the sci­en­tific team it as­sem­bled to look into the in­ci­dents met with mem­bers of Congress and the Na­tional Academy of Sciences be­fore the talks at the State Depart­ment.

The Cuban Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton said the team is propos­ing “a dis­pas­sion­ate ex­am­i­na­tion of health reports of U.S. diplo­mats in Cuba ac­cord­ing to the rules of sci­ence.”

The planned meet­ing is “part of our on­go­ing ef­fort to in­ves­ti­gate and bet­ter un­der­stand the health con­di­tions of our diplo­mats,” the State Depart­ment said.

It said the Cuban del­e­ga­tion would “re­ceive a gen­eral med­i­cal brief­ing about the in­juries ex­pe­ri­enced by U.S. per­son­nel who served in Ha­vana.”

The depart­ment has played down or de­nied reports that in­ves­ti­ga­tors have fo­cused on a mi­crowave de­vice as the source of the at­tacks and that Rus­sia is the lead­ing sus­pect.

The reports have raised protests from Cuba, which does not dis­pute the symp­toms but in­sists there is no ev­i­dence to sup­port any as­ser­tion that they were caused by pre­med­i­tated at­tacks on its soil.

Twenty-five U.S. Em­bassy work­ers in Cuba, as well as one at the U.S. con­sulate in Guangzhou, China, have been af­fected by mys­te­ri­ous health in­ci­dents that be­gan in the fall of 2016.

The last case from Ha­vana was con­firmed in June. The U.S. said two em­bassy staffers were af­fected in a sin­gle oc­cur­rence in late May in a diplo­matic res­i­dence at which both of­fi­cers were present. Those were the first con­firmed cases in Ha­vana since Au­gust 2017.

The as­so­ciat ed press files

Above: The U.S. Em­bassy in Ha­vana, Cuba. Amer­i­can and Cuban of­fi­cials met on Thurs­day to dis­cuss mys­te­ri­ous “health at­tacks” against Amer­i­can diplo­mats work­ing in Cuba.

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