09/21/13 - Fox News - Cuba, US reach maritime rescue agreement
HAVANA (AFP) Cuba and the United States have reached a rare preliminary
agreement on working together more closely, in the field of air and
maritime rescue, Havana's state newspaper Granma said.
Every year thousands of Cubans leave the country illegally aboard fragile
boats to try to reach Florida, which is 145 kilometres (90 miles) away.
The provisional agreement was reached Friday and must now be approved by
the governments of each country.
Havana and Washington have not had diplomatic relations since 1961, two
years after Fidel Castro came to power in the Cuban revolution.
Under current policy, US-bound Cubans caught on the high seas are
repatriated. But if they make it to US shores they are let in, allowed to
stay and in a year or so acquire residence papers.
Cuban and US officials held talks Monday on resuming direct postal service
between the two countries. In July they resumed discussions on migratory
issues. These had been on hold since 2011.
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