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U.S. orders 15 Cuban diplomats to leave; Canada stays the course

U.S. orders 15 Cuban diplomats to leave; Canada stays the course

"We continue diplomatic relations with Cuba and to cooperate with Cuba on the investigation of these attacks", added Mr. Tillerson in a statement.

He spoke Tuesday after the USA government expelled 15 of Cuba's diplomats to protest its failure to protect Americans from the unexplained attacks.

USA news agencies are reporting that the United States plans to expel about 60 percent of Cuba's embassy staff in Washington after announcing it would pull its own personnel out of Havana following a series of unexplained "attacks".

"Because our personnel's safety is at risk, and we are unable to identify the source of the attacks, we believe USA citizens may also be at risk and warn them not to travel to Cuba", the USA said in a formal travel warning.

The FBI did not find any devices in the diplomats' homes or hotels where they were staying and are still investigating who was behind the attacks and the type of weapon that was used, two senior U.S. officials have said.

The State Department issued last Friday a travel warning to all American visitors, who were strongly advised to stay away from Cuba because the Havana government could not ensure their safety. He said that Cuba seriously and strictly follows the duties set up by the Convention of Vienna on Diplomatic Relations in 1961, regarding the protection to the integrity of diplomats, as well as their facilities.

The State Department gave the Cuban ambassador in Washington a list of 15 names on Tuesday and said officials have a week to leave the country.

There was reluctance to punish Cuba when the US still hasn't blamed anyone.

In Havana, the US had roughly 54 diplomats in its embassy until deciding Friday to pull more than half of them out and leave behind only "essential personnel".

U.S. officials said they are convinced someone has been targeting the diplomats and they are investigating whether some type of sonic weapon could have been used in the attacks.

The weak bridge that had been built between the United States and Cuba is about to break.




The State Department is framing this decision as a simple balancing of the number of diplomats on each country's soil.

The U.S. officials say the additional case will be announced later Tuesday.

The US and Cuban embassies were reopened back in 2015, when diplomatic relations between the two were restored after almost 55 years.

From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen.

The U.S. has not identified the device used for the alleged attacks, and Federal Bureau of Investigation sweeps have turned up nothing, the AP reported. The US has said the FBI is leading the investigation. "We have a mission to do, and we're used to operating with serious health risks in many environments, whether it's parasites that rip up our guts in Africa, exposure to Zika virus and dengue fever, or air pollution in China and India", Stephenson said.

Havana has pledged to continue to investigate and the USA will assist in the effort, Tillerson said.

Cuba has a week to recall its staff, the official said.

The 15 Cuban diplomats selected by the U.S. will have a week to leave, a State Department official said.

CNN reported in August that the attacks, which began in November and ended this spring, left some embassy personnel with mild traumatic brain injury; two might have permanent hearing loss.

"This move does not signal a change of policy or a determination of responsibility for the attacks on US government personnel", a State Department official said.

Share with Us - We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article, and smart, constructive criticism. He added that the 15 diplomats would not be permanently barred from returning to the US.

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