US, Cuba to announce reopening of embassies

Washington, July 1 (IANS) The US and Cuba are on Wednesday scheduled to announce the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana for the first time in over 50 years.

“We will formally announce tomorrow (Wednesday) that the US and Cuba have reached an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and open embassies in each other’s capitals,” a US official said.

In Havana, the American embassy is likely to occupy the same building where the Interests Section currently operates, CNN quoted a White House official as saying.

That’s the same structure, situated on the Havana waterfront, which housed the American embassy prior to the severing of diplomatic ties after the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s.

“We expect President Barack Obama and Secretary John Kerry to address this publicly tomorrow morning,” the official added.

The re-establishing of embassies is a final step in the full diplomatic thaw President Obama initiated in December.

Since then, the US has eased some travel restrictions to Cuba and allowed for some new economic ties.

In April, Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro during a summit meeting in Panama, the first time the leaders of Cuba and the US had met in over 50 years.

The US officially removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror earlier in June.

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