US: Kerry received his Cuban counterpart, a first in 57 years



The chief US diplomat welcomed Bruno Rodríguez on its premises for the State Department. He must go himself in Havana in August.

The Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the United States wanted to maintain “good neighborly ties” with Cuba , but warned that the full normalization of relations between the two countries would be “long and complex”. Hours after the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana, John Kerry – speaking in Spanish – welcomed “the beginning of this new relationship with the people and government of Cuba”, at a conference joint press with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez. But, returning to English, he added that this reconciliation did not mean “not the end of the many differences that still separate our governments.”

The Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez has meanwhile called for the end of the economic embargo against Cuba and called for the restitution of land to the US base in Guantánamo. Bruno Rodríguez said that Havana wanted to move forward. But he insisted that “completely lift the embargo and the return of the territory illegally occupied in Guantánamo” were points “crucial to move towards normalization” of relations between the two countries.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday received his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez on the premises of the State Department, the first such visit to a diplomat in Havana since 1958. John Kerry and Bruno Rodríguez shook hands with smile for the cameras before starting a meeting to discuss various topics related to the rapprochement between the US and Cuba initiated last December after more than five decades of hostility.
Historic restoration of diplomatic relations

Earlier in the day, the Cuban flag took its place in the entrance of the US State Department as well as the new Cuban embassy in Washington, marking the historic restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries. US Secretary of State will visit him in Cuba on August 14, notably in order to hoist the American flag on the new Embassy of the United States. John Kerry becomes the most senior US official to visit the communist island since the normalization of relations. The last visit of a Secretary of State goes back to 1945.