Full-fledged US-Cuban normalisation deal expected in July

US administration expected to announce deal which enables to complete full-fledged normalisation with Cuba, ending more than five decades of ideological hostility

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Obama administration is expected to put into force an agreement regarding the reestablishment of diplomatic ties with Cuba in early July by reopening embassies reciprocally, a move that will restore the severed relations more than a half century ago.

The parties hope to resettle ties by concluding an agreement in the early weeks of the next month when the US Secretary of State John Kerry to pay an official visit to Havana in order to inaugurate the American embassy, US sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The US and Cuba announced last December to normalise their bilateral diplomatic ties which were cut in the wake of 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Soon after the Revolution, the US had attacked Cuba through the invasion of Bay of Pigs in 1961 at a time when the tensions reached at its peak and led to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Since then Cuba has been isolated by the US until President Barack Obama declared on Dec. 17, 2014 that the parties had decided to decrease tension and revitalise the ties.

The US-Cuban political breakthrough enabled the parties to come together in different diplomatic levels as the US and Cuban Foreign Ministers held official talks in the previous months which marked the first highest level meeting since the bilateral relations have been suspended almost 55 years ago.

President Obama also approved Cuba’s removal from the terror-sponsoring state last month soon after he met with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro at the Summit of Americas in Panama in April which irreversibly clinched  the rapprochement of former antagonists.

The only countries that remained on the US “blacklist” are Iran, Sudan, Syria and North Korea which have been exposed to US arms embargo together with economic assistance and a wide variety of additional financial restrictions.

Restoration process in the US-Cuban relations still have some lingering problems, including Cuba’s human rights record and long-standing US embargo that can only be lifted by the Congress in which the Republicans dominate the US polity and put their reserves in the normalisation with Havana.

But the US officials see there was little possibility that the anti-Castro hardliners among the US congressmen would be able to block such a rapprochement with Cuba.  

The US sources say that the Obama administration was hoping to notify the Congress with its intention to reopen the Cuban embassy within the upcoming weeks, 15 days ahead of the Kerry’s scheduled visit to Havana.

The parties have been maintaining negotiations on some US demands, such as relative freedom of movement for their diplomats on the island and how many shipping containers will be allowed into Havana for renovating the US mission there.

The US expects Havana leadership to allow its missions and activities in the country, comparable to that in Russia and Vietnam, but the Cuban side has objected some US training activities, most notably in areas like journalism and information technology given at the US interests section in Havana.

TRTWorld and agencies