US and Cuba a step closer to normal diplomatic relations

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US and Cuba a step closer to normal diplomatic relations

The United States and Cuba both said good progress was made at the second round of talks aimed at restoring diplomatic relations that were severed 54 years ago after Cuba’s revolution.

These latest discussions at the state department in Washington followed the first round of talks in Havana in January.

“I can say that we had a good meeting today”, said the head of the Cuban delegation Josefina Vidal. “We made progress in our discussions.”

One priority for Cuba is its removal from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, but diplomats would not be drawn one which issues were causing any division.

“I don’t feel that it would be appropriate for me to go into specifics about which issues we made more or less progress on, some of them quite honestly are close to resolution”, said US assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson.

The negotiations signify a dramatic change in policy by the United States towards its communist neighbour and some political analysts think President Obama is looking for a legacy.

For over 50 years there has been a relationship of sorts between the two countries, but it has always been through a third party, even though they do have diplomats working in each other’s capitals.

At present Cuba’s interests in the US are represented by a division of the Swiss embassy, but if these talks ultimately succeed, that could soon change and embassies could be re-established in the respective capitals.