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Jorge Mas Santos: Canceled Meeting with Government Officials 'Was Not to be a Handover of Elian'Aired April 12, 2000 - 10:32 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We interrupt that piece to go live to Washington, D.C. This is the Cuban-American National Foundation holding a news conference.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JORGE MAS SANTOS, CUBAN-AMERICAN NATL. FON.: ... and ultimately that this decision be made by the family. The agreement that was reached last night among all of the parties, including the Justice Department and Gregory Craig, negotiations that took place between Eric Holder, Bob Torricelli, the attorneys for Juan Miguel, and also the attorneys for the family, was that there was no preconditions to that meeting. The meeting was not to be a handover of Elian. The meeting was a forum so that this family, among themselves, could decide as a family what is in the best interest of Elian.
There was no conditions placed by the family or by the other parties over this. There have been some comments over the last few hours by Justice Department official or sources that this was a transfer. And I want to make it very clear that under no circumstances was that agreed to last night.
The agreement last night was very clear, and I want to repeat agreed to by all parties, there was no conditions to that meeting. We are going to continue to work extremely hard to make that meeting a reality. We are currently in discussions, and there are continued negotiations to try to make this meeting a reality as soon as possible. So that they can alone by themselves in a forum that we feel is one where they can be open, and where they can be together and that not the U.S. government, the Cuban government, or anyone else involved imposes their will among this family.
There are obviously very many scenarios that could take place out of a family meeting, there are many scenarios of what could end up. And I think it is premature to speculate what may happen. What we have done is to support the family in their efforts to get this private meeting. We have done so. And we are going to continue working to making it a reality.
I am going to say some words in Spanish now before we go back to English. KAGAN: We've been listening to Jorge Mas Santos of the Cuban- American National Foundation, basically briefing us that negotiations continue to somehow get a family meeting together, those negotiations go on. No meeting has been agreed upon so far, this on a morning where earlier today we saw Elian Gonzalez leave the Miami home where he's been staying with his uncle, Lazaro Gonzalez, and head with him over to the home of Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin. As we understand it, Sister O'Laughlin has been called in to help mediate the situation and ease tensions in a situation that has become increasingly tense as the days have gone on.
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