US, Cuba Agree To Reopen Embassies In Respective Capitals, Meant To Foster Relations
The United States and Cuba will be reopening each other’s embassies six months after both agreed to reestablish relations lost for over five decades. President Barack Obama is expected to formally make the announcement at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) Wednesday.
The two countries operate diplomatic missions called “interests sections” in each other’s capitals since the late 1970s. These, however, do not operate as full embassies. There are only about 50 people working in the American compound.
It is not immediately known when the embassies in Havana and Washington would open. A report by BBC, however, says the reopening the embassies is likely to be in mid-July. When it does, it caps four rounds of talks between U.S. and Cuban officials after December 17, 2014, the date the restoration of relations between the two countries was announced. Ambassadors will be appointed later.
Mr Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro had met briefly on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Panama in April. Both were seen shaking hands. Both likewise said that developing new relations between their countries was “possible,” but must only be dealt with “patiently.”
“We will formally announce tomorrow that the United States and Cuba have reached an agreement to re-establish formal diplomatic relations and open embassies in each other’s capitals,” Reuters quoted an unidentified senior U.S. official said.
The U.S. State Department must give Congress a 15-day notice before opening an embassy.
But while Mr Obama may have been successful in placing again an embassy in Cuba, the same couldn’t be ascertained yet on lifting the economic embargo on the communist island located just a mere 90 miles south of Florida. The U.S. president faces stiff opposition from Congress regarding the matter.