HAVANA — Cuba says it has a right to grant asylum to U.S. fugitives, the clearest signal yet that the communist government has no intention of extraditing America's most-wanted woman despite the warming relations.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged President Barack Obama to demand the return of fugitive Joanne Chesimard. She was granted asylum by Fidel Castro after she escaped from the prison where she was serving a sentence for killing a New Jersey state trooper.

Several other longtime fugitives live on the island.

Asked if returning fugitives was open to negotiation, Cuba's head of North American affairs Josefina Vidal told The Associated Press Monday that "every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted ... that's a legitimate right."