By Jill Dougherty
Direct mail between the United States and Cuba was suspended 50 years ago.
Now the two countries have agreed to hold talks on reestablishing that service, but U.S. officials caution the discussions "are technical in nature" and do not indicate any change in policy toward Cuba.
Representatives from the State Department and the U.S. Postal Service will meet with Cuban officials in Washington this week to discuss the matter.
"The reason we're doing this is because it's of course good for the Cuban people," she said. "This is something we feel is good for us, but it's not meant to be a signal of anything or indicate a change in policy," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The talks come as Washington and Havana have been at odds over the fate of U.S contractor Alan Gross, who was arrested in 2009 and is serving a 15-year prison sentence for bringing Internet access equipment to Cuban Jews. The Cuban government considers that action subversive.
The last talks with Cuba on reestablishing direct mail service were in 2009.
"We're hopeful that we'll be able to move things forward," Psaki said.