US says next round of talks with Cuba in Havana on Sunday

AFP , Saturday 14 Mar 2015

American and Cuban diplomats will hold the next round of talks on restoring diplomatic ties and reopening their embassies in Havana on Sunday, the State Department announced.

Top US diplomat for Latin American, Roberta Jacobson, will return to the Cuban capital for a third round of negotiations on March 15, the department said in a statement.

Both sides said progress had been made in their last talks in Washington on February 27 aimed at restoring diplomatic ties severed for more than half a century, but cautioned that differences remained.

Jacobson will again meet with Cuba's chief negotiator Josefina Vidal on Sunday.

"The parties have been in communication since last meeting in February in Washington," the State Department said.

"It is in the interest of both countries to re-establish diplomatic relations and re-open embassies," it insisted in the statement.

President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro surprised the world in December with their decision to restore ties after more than a half century of Cold War enmity.

The hope is that within the coming months, both nations will agree to reopen embassies in each other's capitals and appoint full-fledged ambassadors.

"A US embassy in Havana will allow the United States to more effectively promote our interests and values, and increase engagement with the Cuban people," the State Department said.

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