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US and Cuba to reopen embassies later this month

US and Cuba to reopen embassies later this month
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By Keith Walker with AGENCIES
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The United States plans to raise its flag over a US embassy in Cuba’s capital Havana later this month. US President Barack Obama has announced plans

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The United States plans to raise its flag over a US embassy in Cuba’s capital Havana later this month. US President Barack Obama has announced plans to officially reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

“Later this summer, Secretary Kerry will travel to Havana, formally, to proudly raise the American flag over our embassy once more,” said Obama. “And I have been clear that we will also continue to have some very serious differences … that will include America’s enduring support for universal values like freedom of speech, and assembly, and the ability to access information.”

A senior US diplomat delivered a letter from Obama to Cuba’s foreign minister. The letter, addressed to Cuban President Raul Castro, said Washington is encouraged that both countries want to cooperate with each other.

“You can’t hold the future of Cuba hostage to what happened in the past. I have called on Congress to take steps to lift the embargo that prevents Americans from travelling [to] or doing business in Cuba,” added Obama.

The US interests section in Havana will become a full embassy during the US secretary of state’s visit.

Cuba’s mission in Washington will undergo a similar upgrade.

With diplomatic relations restored, the United States and Cuba will turn to the more difficult goal of restoring full bilateral relations.

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