Cuba, US to Open Embassies

Cuba, US to Open EmbassiesCuba, US to Open Embassies

Cuba and the United States have agreed to open embassies in each other’s capitals, the biggest tangible step in the countries’ historic bid to restore ties after more than half a century of hostilities.

President Barack Obama was expected to announce the agreement on Wednesday at the White House. The US Embassy in Havana is scheduled to open later this month, AP reported.

The two countries have been negotiating the reestablishment of embassies following a surprise December announcement that secret talks had led to an agreement to restart diplomatic relations.

For Obama, ending the US freeze with Cuba is central to his foreign policy legacy as he nears the end of his presidency.

A senior Obama administration official confirmed the embassy planning. The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter ahead of the president.

Cuba’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday evening it would meet with US Interests Section chief Jeffrey DeLaurentis on Wednesday morning to receive a message from Obama about reopening embassies.

The US cut off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 after Fidel Castro’s revolution. The US spent decades trying to either actively overthrow the Cuban government or isolate the island, including toughening the economic embargo first imposed by former president Dwight D. Eisenhower.