Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cuba-US Expect to Announce Embassy Openings Next Week

Cuba-US Expect to Announce Embassy Openings Next Week
May 27, 2015, 4:12 PM ET

Cuba and the United States are expected to formally announce the
re-opening of embassies in Havana and D.C. next week, ABC News has been
told by two sources close to negotiations.

The announcement is expected to come from their respective capitals,
following Friday's anticipated announcement of Cuba's removal from the
list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Cuba is expected to be formally removed from the list 45 days after
President Obama announced his intention to remove them, which came in
mid-April, and just days after he returned from Panama and the first
high level meeting between the two countries since the diplomatic freeze.

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The listing, which included them on a list alongside nations such as
Syria, Sudan and Iran, has been a sticking point in the negotiations.

Last week, Cuban diplomats met in D.C. with U.S. diplomats in the latest
round of talks since the U.S. and Cuba began negotiating normalization
in December.

Both sides expressed optimism and called the talks "very productive,"
foreseeing an agreement soon, but sticking points remain.

The major sticking point for Americans has been the freedom for staff to
move throughout the country; for the Cubans, it was courses provided to
Cuban journalists by the U.S. government at the interests section in
Havana, which they say fall outside normal diplomatic activities.

The two countries have only operated lower level Interest Sections since
the late 1970s in buildings run by the Swiss.

Diplomatic relations were cut off in 1961, with Fidel Castro calling the
U.S. embassy a "nest of spies."

Today, renovations are underway in Havana and D.C. as the two buildings
are prepared for full embassies staffed with full level ambassadors.

The date of the re-opening has not been confirmed, but that too may be
announced next week.

Source: Cuba-US Expect to Announce Embassy Openings Next Week - ABC News

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