Cuba freed some political prisoners on list: US

AFP , Tuesday 6 Jan 2015

Cuba has freed some of the 53 political prisoners identified on a US list as it moves towards normalizing ties with the United States, an American official said Tuesday.

"They have already released some of the prisoners," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

"Obviously we would like to see this completed in the near future."

She refused, however, to specify how many people were freed.

Last month US President Barack Obama signaled a historic shift in US ties with Cuba, ordering his administration to initiate steps to normalize relations.

The State Department must also study the prospects of lifting communist-run Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Obama also wants to eventually gain cooperation from Congress in lifting the 54-year-old US trade embargo on Cuba which he has described as "self-defeating."

As part of the deal, Washington has presented a "carefully put together" list of 53 political prisoners which the United States would like to see freed by Havana, Psaki said.

Senior officials from both countries are due to meet to start the process of normalizing ties in Havana later in January. An exact date has not been set.

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