Obama hails ‘new chapter’ in US-Cuba ties
The US is looking to open an embassy in Havana in the coming months, Mr Obama said.
The plans set out in a White House statement also include:
- Reviewing the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism
- Easing a travel ban for US citizens
- Easing financial restrictions
- Increasing telecommunications links
- Efforts to lift the 54-year-old trade embargo
Mr Castro said the changes were something Cuba had been pressing for for a long time.
“Ever since my election… I have reiterated on many occasions our preparedness to hold a respectful dialogue with the government of the United States based on sovereign equality,” he said.
President Castro urged Washington to lift a trade and economic embargo imposed on the communist-run island – a move that can only be made by Congress.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has criticised the new US policy, saying it would do nothing to address the issues of Cuba’s political system and human rights record.