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Reuters -- Daniel Trotta

The United States and Cuba clashed over U.S. immigration policy on Wednesday at the first session of high-level talks seeking to restore diplomatic ties between the Cold War adversaries.

The Americans vowed to continue granting safe haven to Cubans with special protections denied to other nationalities while Cuba complained the United States encourages Cuban doctors to defect, calling it a "reprehensible brain drain practice."

The talks will continue on Thursday with the two sides set to discuss restoring diplomatic relations and eventually opening up full trade and travel ties. The first day was dedicated to immigration, the 28th round of bilateral talks on the issue.

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Updated: Fri, Jul 21st 2017 @ 11:08am EDT