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Cuba says it found no proof of attack on US diplomats

Friday, September 22, 2017

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UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — Cuba has found no evidence to support US claims that several American diplomats in Havana were harmed in outside attacks on their health, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said Friday.

Since last year, at least 21 US officials and a smaller number of Canadians have received treatment for a variety of symptoms including brain trauma and hearing loss after what US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called "health attacks."

US officials initially suggested the envoys were hurt by some kind of mystery "acoustic device" but investigations are continuing and the State Department has been reluctant to go into details.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Parrilla said Cuba had conducted its own investigation into the incidents, the latest of which took place in August, and had reviewed evidence provided by the US mission.

"Cuban authorities... have so far found no evidence whatsoever that could confirm the causes or the origin of the health disorders referred to by US diplomats and their relatives," he said.

"The investigation to clarify this issue continues, and in order to be able to arrive to a conclusion, it will be crucial to rely on the cooperation of the US authorities.

"It would be unfortunate if a matter of this nature is politicized," he added.
Tillerson said this week that the United States is considering whether to close its embassy in Cuba following the alleged attacks, which US authorities say began last year and continued to at least last month.

Washington has not accused Cuba of being behind an attack, but has repeatedly warned that Havana is responsible for the safety of foreign envoys on its soil, and in May two Cuban diplomats were expelled from the US.

"Cuba has never perpetrated nor will it ever perpetrate actions of this sort. Cuba has never allowed nor will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties with that purpose," Parrilla said.

Relations between the United States and Cuba were restored by then president Barack Obama and his counterpart Raul Castro in 2015, half a century after the Cold War rivals cut ties and began a long diplomatic standoff.

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