Obama, Castro formally open US-Cuban diplomatic ties
US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro on Wednesday announced the re- establishment of full diplomatic ties between the two countries and the reopening of a US embassy in Havana and a Cuban one in Washington.
"A year ago it might have seemed impossible that the United States would be once again raising our flag, the stars and stripes, over an embassy in Havana," Obama said in a statement in the White House Rose Garden.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to travel to Havana this summer to raise the American flag on the US embassy in the Cuban capital, Obama added.
The announcement came as Castro sent a letter to Obama Wednesday saying that "Cuba has decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States and open permanent diplomatic missions in our respective countries, on July 20, 2015," official television said.
"I am pleased to address this letter to you to confirm that Cuba has decided to reestablish diplomatic relations with the United States and open permanent diplomatic missions in our respective countries, on July 20, 2015," the missive says.
"In making this decision, Cuba is encouraged by the reciprocal intention to develop respectful and cooperative relations between our two peoples and governments."
Castro wrote that Havana is "inspired by the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter and International Law," including "the development of friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and cooperation in solving international problems and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all."
A separate Cuban government statement said Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez would lead a delegation at the reopening of the Cuban embassy in Washington.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
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