US, Cuba Hold Highest-Level Meeting in More Than 50 Years

John Kerry met with Cuba's foreign minister last night
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 10, 2015 1:00 AM CDT
US, Cuba Hold Highest-Level Meeting in More Than 50 Years
US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers his speech during the University Presidents Forum in Panama City, Thursday, April 9, 2015. Kerry is in Panama to attends the VII Summit of the Americas.    (Moises Castillo)

The top US and Cuban diplomats have met in Panama in the highest-level meeting between the two governments in more than half a century. The US State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez met yesterday evening in Panama City, where the Summit of the Americas kicks off today. Officials described the meeting as lengthy. They say that Kerry and Rodriguez agreed that they had made progress and would keep working to address ongoing issues. No additional information about their meeting was immediately available.

As leaders from across the Western Hemisphere gather in Panama, all eyes will be on two presidents: Barack Obama and Raul Castro, whose expected encounter at the summit will mark a historic moment as the US and Cuba seek to restore ties they abandoned decades ago. While Obama and Castro have no formal meetings scheduled together, even a brief handshake or hallway greeting will be scrutinized for signs of whether the two nations are really poised to put their hostile pasts behind them. While in Jamaica on Wednesday, Obama signaled that he will soon act to remove Cuba from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, removing a stigma that has been a source of friction for Havana. Obama's move could come within days. (More President Obama stories.)

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