Obama announces opening of new embassies in Havana and Washington today

Posted: 01-Jul-15 15:07

This afternoon at 15:00 GMT, U.S. President Barack Obama made the announcement everyone had been waiting for - that Cuba and the U.S. would simultaneously open embassies in each country's capital on 20th July 2015, thus ending nearly six decades of severed diplomatic ties between the two neighbouring nations.

Obama announces opening of new embassies in Havana and Washington today

It’s already happening; Cuba and the U.S. are finally announcing the opening of embassies in each other’s capital cities, after five decades of severed diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Just yesterday a senior U.S. official revealed to CNN:

"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.

"We expect President Obama and Secretary Kerry to address this publicly tomorrow morning."

The re-opening of embassies in both capitals marks the final step in the reestablishment of diplomatic ties planned and announced by President Barack Obama back in December 2014. It will be a historic move in more than half a century of ill relations.

The formal announcement by Barack Obama regarding the opening of the two embassies was made today at 15:00 GMT. During his speech the American president said how the two countries had struck a deal to renew diplomatic ties and revealed that the U.S. Embassy in Havana was scheduled to open on 20th July 2015.

Obama remarked:

"This is an historic step. The progress we make today is another demonstration we don't have to be imprisoned by the past.”

Whilst making the announcement, the U.S. President acknowledged that while they were prepared to keep working with Cuba to improve relations between the two nations, there remain serious and profound differences on issues like freedom of speech and human rights.

Regardless, he also highlighted the importance of ending the U.S.’s outdated approach of isolating Cuba and paving a new way for further engagement between the two countries.

On 29th May the U.S. formally removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and just a month prior to that, Cuban President Raul Castro made with Obama for the first formal talks between the two nations held in more than five decades.

Obama has also urged Congress to lift the 1962 U.S. embargo against Cuba and continuous pressure from various lobbying groups pushing for this move could soon see American citizens freely travelling to Cuba and engaging in business relations.


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