A senior US official has expressed optimism about the upcoming talks here with Cuba, saying that the two sides are “closer” to restoring diplomatic ties.
“We’ve clearly gotten closer and worked our way to a fewer number of items on the checklist,” a senior State Department official told reporters in a teleconference .
“That’s the reason for my optimism.”
The new round of talks between the US and Cuba is scheduled to be held in Washington on Thursday.
The official, who asked not to be named, said Washington and Havana “have certain requirements that we need met, so we just have to see whether we can get there in this round of talks”, Xinhua news agency reported.
The official also said Cuba has established a banking relationship in the US, clearing away a major obstacle to reopening its embassy.
The official, however, declined to identify the bank and said Cuba would make an announcement on the issue shortly.
US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro announced in December a thaw in relations following more than five decades of enmity.
Last month, Washington said it would remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, effective from May 29, making a concrete step toward establishing diplomatic ties.
The decision came after Obama and Castro held talks on the sidelines of a regional summit in Panama in April, the first meeting between Cuban and US leaders in more than half a century.