Senior US Officials Flying to Cuba to Restore Civilian Air Links

© Flickr / lezumbalaberenjenaEsperanza, Villa Clara, Cuba
Esperanza, Villa Clara, Cuba - Sputnik International
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The Department of State announced on Friday that US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Assistant Secretary of State Charles Rivkin will fly to Cuba on Tuesday to re-establish air services between the two countries for the first time in more than half a century.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Assistant Secretary of State Charles Rivkin will fly to Cuba on Tuesday to re-establish air services between the two countries for the first time in more than half a century, the Department of State announced on Friday.

"Foxx and… Rivkin will travel to Havana, Cuba, on February 16 to sign a bilateral arrangement to re-establish scheduled air services between the United States and Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years," the media note said.

The signing of the agreement brings into effect an arrangement that was reached on December 16, 2015, the media note recalled.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Washington. - Sputnik International
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Also on Friday, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner called the coming agreement, a "major step forward in President [Barack] Obama's policy of engagement with Cuba."

US law continues to prohibit travel to Cuba for tourist activities, the media note observed.

However, "this arrangement will facilitate authorized travel, enhance traveler choices and strengthen people-to-people links between the two countries. Scheduled services are expected to commence sometime later this year," the note added.

The current Republican-majority in both chambers of Congress continues to oppose fully removing the 55-year-old economic US embargo on Cuba.

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