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    Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.

    US, Cuba to Officially Open Embassies, Restoring Diplomatic Relations

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    US-Cuba Relations Recieve Major Makeover (174)
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    The United States and Cuba will officially reestablish diplomatic ties on Monday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States and Cuba will officially reestablish diplomatic ties on Monday by reopening embassies in the countries’ capitals following 54 years of hostility.

    "To be clear, legally, on July 20, both Interests Sections will become embassies," a US State Department official told reporters on Friday.

    According to the official, the future US embassy in Havana will only put a short factual statement to that effect on July 20. The official reopening ceremony will take place later this summer when Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cuba to raise the US flag over the mission to unveil the signage for the embassy.

    "There is not a legal requirement to fly a flag. We wanted the Secretary to be there to oversee these important events," the official said.

    The details will be provided in the coming weeks, the official said.

    There will also be a technical exchange of notes in Havana, the official pointed out, because the government of Switzerland has been providing its protecting power to Cuba and the United States for many years.

    "And now that agreement between the United States and Switzerland and another agreement between Cuba and Switzerland will be terminated as a result of the upgrade," the official explained.

    White House spokesperson Josh Earnest warned on Friday that the US Embassy in Cuba may remain without an ambassador for an undetermined period of time if the Congress Republicans continue to obstruct nominees.

    The official stressed that the Cuban embassy will have their ceremonial opening in Washington, as well.

    "In Washington at 10:30 [14:30 GMT], the Cuban embassy will hold their ceremonial reopening. There is very limited attendance by the US government," the official said.

    The US delegation will be led by Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson. The head of the US Interests Section in Cuba, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, will be in the delegation, as well.

    Following the ceremony at the Cuban embassy, Kerry will meet Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla at the State Department at 1:00 p.m. [18:00 GMT] and will hold a joint press conference at 1:40 p.m. [18:40 GMT].

    Earlier in July, a senior State Department official said the head of the US Interests Section in Cuba, Jeffrey DeLaurentis, will be made the Charge D'Affaires in Cuba once diplomatic relations are restored later this summer.

    The United States closed its embassy in Cuba in 1961, severing diplomatic ties with the island nation after a Socialist government came to power, but has kept an unofficial "interests section" presence in the country.

    In December 2014, President Obama announced his administration would pursue a path toward normalizing relations with Cuba.

    The United States has upheld strict bans on diplomatic, trade and person-to-person ties with Cuba for more than 50 years.

    US-Cuba Relations Recieve Major Makeover (174)


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