HAVANA, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Cuba called on U.S. authorities on Thursday to continue bilateral cooperation against drug trafficking despite recent measures announced by President Donald Trump to roll back American policies toward Cuba.
At a press conference, Antonio Ibarra, secretary of Cuba's National Drug Commission, said cooperation between the two nations had increased substantially after the implementation of a bilateral agreement signed during the administration of former President Barack Obama.
"The effectiveness of working alongside security forces from Caribbean countries and the United States has allowed more activities of this nature to be stopped," said Ibarra.
The Cuban official said cooperation with the U.S. allowed Cuban border patrol troops to maintain direct communication with the United States Coast Guard and better pursue naval vessels suspected of carrying drugs.
"In the last 10 years, we have helped the United States seize more than 40 tons of drugs and collaborated in almost 500 cases," he said.
However, since Trump came to power this year, a scheduled high-level meeting in this area has not taken place, which concerns Cuban authorities.
"We held several high-level talks with U.S. law enforcement officials but those talks are now on standby. They have been postponed at the request of the U.S. side, but the agreements signed in this matter continue to be implemented," pointed out Ibarra.
Despite this situation, he said that Cuba maintains its willingness to continue collaborating for the "good of both countries."
Ibarra also said that the strategies employed by criminal groups have changed and drug trafficking has increased in the past year.
"In these first months of 2017, we have captured three times more drugs than in the first half of 2016," he said.
In 2016, Cuba seized 1,711 kilograms of drugs of all types but the drastic increase in 2017 means that cooperation with neighbors is all the more needed, he said. Enditem