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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Ned Price on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice's Meeting with Civil Society Leaders in Advance of the President's Trip to Cuba

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with civil society leaders to discuss a wide range of human rights issues in advance of the President's trip to Cuba.  Ambassador Rice took the opportunity to deepen the important dialogue on President Obama's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba and reiterated that while in Havana, President Obama will meet with Cuban independent civil society chosen by the White House. Ambassador Rice heard from each leader and emphasized that a critical focus of charting a new course with Cuba includes our continued strong support for universal values and human rights -- including respect for the right to speak freely, peacefully assembly, and associate. She emphasized that the United States would continue to highlight our support for these universal rights, in Cuba as everywhere.