HAVANA TIMES — President Raul Castro said today that Cuba and the United States could reopen their embassies soon after May 29, the day when the island formally ceases to be on the US “black list” of state sponsors of terrorism.
After that date “we can appoint ambassadors,” Castro said at Havana airport after sending off his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, after his first visit to Cuba.
The Cuban leader also spoke positively on the current negotiations with the United States after the two countries announced in December a historic announcement to resume diplomatic relations.
“It’s going good, of course at our own pace,” Castro said. “Many may wonder and complain that we are going very slow. But why hurry and make mistakes?”
“Now the Foreign Ministry is discussing the paperwork” on the issues involved,” added Castro on the current negotiations with the USA to reopen embassies, which began in January.
US President Barack Obama announced in mid-April that he will remove Cuba from the “black list” on terrorism where the island has been since 1982. Under US law, the measure takes effect 45 days after the White House made its announcement to Congress.
Although Havana stressed that the removal from the list was not a condition for advancing, the presence of Cuba on the list was one of the main obstacles to the planned resumption of diplomatic relations.
Another obstacle that Cuba has repeatedly pointed out are the problems facing the Cuban Interests Section in Washington (the future embassy) to operate, due to the restrictions of the economic embargo by the United States.
The Interests Sections in both countries were established during the Carter administration in the late 70s and are seen as the locations of the embassies.
Obama and Raul Castro held a historic meeting in mid-April in Panama; nearly four months after the two countries announced their diplomatic rapprochement. The images of the two presidents shaking hands during the Summit of the Americas went around the world.