US Planning To Reduce Embassy Staff In Havana

Elias Hubbard
September 29, 2017

"The Secretary conveyed the gravity of the situation and underscored the Cuban authorities' obligations to protect Embassy staff and their families under the Vienna Convention", said Nauert.

Plans to withdraw US #Embassy staff based in Havana, #Cuba are set to be announced, in a move that will see family members and the majority of diplomats brought back to the US for re-assignment.

Towards the end of 2016, embassy staff, diplomats, and their families began to experience mysterious symptoms that included nausea, hearing loss, loss of balance and severe headaches.

Earlier this month, Tillerson said the USA was considering whether to close down its embassy in Cuba following the incidents.

The action comes after a meeting between Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parilla early this week, failed to find a solution to the health attacks.

Washington has expelled two Cuban diplomats over the health-related episodes, although it has not directly blamed Havana for the incidents.

Officials have not ruled out other options but the plan now seems to be to reduce staff.

In an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" earlier this month, Tillerson suggested that the USA could close the Havana embassy, which reopened in 2015 amid efforts by the Obama administration to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Tillerson met with Cuban Foreign Secretary Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrillan Washington on Tuesday to discuss about recent emergence of symptoms of hearing loss and nausea among USA diplomatic personnel and their families in the Cuban capital Havana.

"The conversation was firm and frank and reflected the United States' profound concern for the safety and security of its diplomatic personnel", the State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert said after the meeting between the two diplomats in Washington DC.

Last fall, US diplomats in Havana began reporting mysterious symptoms, including hearing loss, headaches and balance issues.

But the meeting did not offer the secretary any reassurance that Havana was taking steps to protect U.S. diplomats in the country, according to CBS.

USA officials initially believed the symptoms were being caused by a covert sonic device.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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