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U.S and Cuba to open talks regarding most-wanted fugitives

The United States and Cuba will open talks about two of America's most-wanted fugitives as part of a new dialogue about law-enforcement cooperation made possible by President Barack Obama's decision to remove Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terror, the State Department announced yesterday.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Cuba had agreed to talks about fugitives including Joanne Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army leader who was granted asylum by Fidel Castro after she escaped from a U.S. prison where she was serving a sentence for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.

The two countries will also discuss the case of William Morales, a Puerto Rican nationalist wanted in connection with bombings in New York in the 1970s. Convicted as a bomb maker for the terrorist group FALN, he escaped from Bellevue Hospital's prison ward in 1979 and fled the country.

"We see the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and the reopening of an embassy in Havana as the means by which we'll be able, more effectively, to press the Cuban government on law enforcement issues such as fugitives. And Cuba has agreed to enter into a law enforcement dialogue with the United States that will work to resolve these cases," Rathke said.

The dialogue is also expected to address cooperation on more routine crimes, officials said.


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