US, Cuba seek to restore mail services

Officials from the United States and Cuba will meet this week to restore direct mail services frozen since 1963, the State Department said Monday.

"Representatives from the Department of State and the United States Postal Service will meet with representatives from the government of Cuba for a technical discussion on re-establishing direct transportation of mail," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"The reason we're doing this is because it's, of course, good for the Cuban people. This is something we feel is good for us, but it's not meant to be a signal or anything or indicate a change in policy."

She stressed that the talks were technical and did not indicate any change in the US policy towards Cuba.

Washington and Havana do not have official diplomatic relations, but each country has an interests section in the other.

The United States imposed an economic embargo on Cuba in 1962 that prohibits US citizens from visiting the island and spending money there without special government authorization. Mail is supposed to be sent via third countries.

President Barack Obama has eased some measures, including making it easier for Cuban-Americans to visit relatives on the island, and said he would be ready to change the policy if he sees evidence of political reform.

"The establishment of direct mail exchange between the United States and Cuba is consistent with our interest in promoting the free flow of information to, from, and within Cuba," Psaki added.