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Maiden visit to Cuba by US delegation

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Cuba's President Raul Castro and Cuban first Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel (C) participate in the 4th Ordinary Session of the 8th Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament), at the Palace of Conventions, in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 19, 2014. According to local press, Cuban Parliament on Friday unanimously approved a declaration of support for the speech of Raul Castro on relations between the United States and Cuba.

Cuba's President Raul Castro and Cuban first Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel (C) participate in the 4th Ordinary Session of the 8th Legislature of the National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament), at the Palace of Conventions, in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 19, 2014. According to local press, Cuban Parliament on Friday unanimously approved a declaration of support for the speech of Raul Castro on relations between the United States and Cuba.
Cuba’s President Raul Castro and Cuban first Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel (C) participate in the 4th Ordinary Session of the 8th Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power (Parliament), at the Palace of Conventions, in Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 19, 2014. According to local press, Cuban Parliament on Friday unanimously approved a declaration of support for the speech of Raul Castro on relations between the United States and Cuba.

A US delegation has arrived here for the first time since the two neighbouring countries decided to restore diplomatic ties last month, Xinhua reported.

The visiting six-member delegation, headed by US Senator Patrick Leahy, during its stay in the capital city till Monday will discuss with Cuban officials and civilian leaders the practical measures required to normalise the relations.

Both countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties that were severed by the US in 1961, as President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy in mid-December, 2014.

“We will discuss our expectations and those of Cubans relating to the normalisation of relations,” Leahy said.

Leahy’s visit precedes a planned meet of the US and Cuban diplomats, who will discuss principles and steps for the re-establishment of the diplomatic relations severed in January 1961, and the reciprocal opening of embassies in Havana and Washington.

The US and Cuban delegations will be respectively headed by Roberta Jacobson, the US deputy Secretary of State for Latin America, and Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, the head of Cuban foreign ministry’s US affairs section.

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