Cuba, US ready for historic talks on restoring ties

Updated: 2015-01-21 09:29


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Cuba, US ready for historic talks on restoring ties

A man stands near the national flags of the US and Cuba (R) on the balcony of a hotel being used by the first US congressional delegation to Cuba since the change of policy announced by US President Barack Obama on December 17, in Havana, January 19, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

On Thursday, the participants are expected to broach the issue of normalizing diplomatic ties, as announced by US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro in simultaneously televised broadcasts on Dec. 17.

Officials will discuss "the principles and steps to reestablishing diplomatic relations and opening embassies in both countries," said the statement.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson will lead her country's delegation to Thursday's meeting, marking the highest level encounter between the two nations in nearly four decades.

In the lead up to the talks, a US congressional delegation traveled to Havana over the weekend, the first time in more than 50 years that US legislators have visited Cuba.

After announcing the restoration of ties, Washington has relaxed its economic restrictions against Cuba, first imposed in 1962, including allowing the use of US credit cards, raising the limit on purchases made in Cuba to 400 US dollars, as well as the limit on remittances from the United States to Cuba, from 500 dollars to 2,000 dollars every three months.

State daily Granma described the measures as "a step in the right direction," but added there was still "a long way to go" before the embargo is fully lifted.


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