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Cuba-US hold talks

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U.S. senator Amy Klobuchar and senator Claire McCaskill step out of a press conference in the National Hotel of Cuba in Havana, Feb. 17, 2015. Members of a Democratic congressional delegation to Cuba expressed optimism Tuesday to the issues of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

U.S. senator Amy Klobuchar  and senator Claire McCaskill step out of a press conference in the National Hotel of Cuba in Havana, Feb. 17, 2015. Members of a Democratic congressional delegation to Cuba expressed optimism Tuesday to the issues of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.
U.S. senator Amy Klobuchar and senator Claire McCaskill step out of a press conference in the National Hotel of Cuba in Havana, Feb. 17, 2015. Members of a Democratic congressional delegation to Cuba expressed optimism Tuesday to the issues of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Cuba and the US held another round of talks in Havana as they moved towards re-establishing diplomatic ties.

The talks were led by Roberta Jacobson, the US’s top diplomat for Latin America, and Josefina Vidal, director of US affairs at the Cuban foreign ministry.

The talks follow a previous round held in Washington on February 27, when technical questions regarding the re-opening of embassies were discussed.

The countries have been without representation in each other’s capitals since 1961 when diplomatic ties were severed.

Some groups in the US are hoping that embassies can open before the April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama City.

“It is vital for US foreign policy to come to Panama with something more than announcements about its relationship with Cuba and to do everything possible to arrive with the issue of the embassies resolved,” said Jorge de Armas, analyst and director of Cuban Americans for Engagement, an organisation which for years has advocated for the normalisation of US-Cuba relations.

The Cuban government will be attending the summit for the first time, and a meeting between Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama could lead to Cuban-US reconciliation.

Cuba also wants to be removed from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism published by the US Department of State. The former has been on the list since 1982.

Another prerequisite is the removal of banking restrictions for any Cuban mission in Washington that has the potential to hinder the consular work of issuing visas or even simply covering office costs.

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