03:10 GMT +323 January 2020
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    The US shouldn't take steps backward in the process of normalizing relations with Cuba, but the pace of moving forward should depend on human rights situation in the country, US Senator and former Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine told Sputnik on the eve of the second anniversary of Washington and Havana reestablishing diplomatic relations.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In June, US President Donald Trump announced his administration would roll back his predecessor Barack Obama's efforts to re-establish relations with Cuba. Trump said there would be new business and travel restrictions imposed on Havana and Washington will retain the existing embargo.

    "I supported the efforts strongly of the [Obama] administration to restore diplomatic relations, and I don’t want to take any steps backward," Kaine said. "The pace of the steps forward depends on the bilateral relationship, and certainly, we want to see more progress on fundamental human rights issues in Cuba. As far as I am concerned no steps backward, [but] steps forward, depending on progress on the human rights front."

    Last week, Cuban President Raul Castro criticized the new US policy, which excludes the possibility of continuing a bilateral dialogue or the implementation of the previously signed agreements between the two countries, but noted that Cuba nevertheless wishes to engage in dialogue with the United States.

    Cuban officials warned in June that a reversal of Washington’s policy toward Havana would fail. Moreover, Cuba has hit back by accusing the United States of a huge number of murders and misconduct by its police as well as of illegal detention and torture of prisoners in the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

    On July 20, 2015 the United States and Cuba reestablished full diplomatic relations by reopening embassies in their respective capitals after 54 years of hostility.

    The warming of relations came as a result of Obama’s decision in December 2014 to pursue a path toward normalizing relations with Cuba.

    Related:

    Cuba Considering Possibility of Retaliatory Measures to US Sanctions
    Cuba Demands Respectful Bilateral Talks From US Authorities – Foreign Minister
    Trump's Attack on Cuba - Ignorance and Arrogance Personified
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    Tim Kaine, Cuba, United States
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