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Kerry to travel to Cuba in August

john kerry

Washington:  US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Cuba on August 14 to formally re-designate the US Interests Section to American Embassy in Havana as the two countries re-established diplomatic relationship after a gap of more than five decades.

Kerry yesterday met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.

Following the meeting, he vowed to have a good neighbourly relationship with Cuba.

“We are determined to live as good neighbours on the basis of mutual respect, and we want all of our citizens – in the US and in Cuba – to look into the future with hope,” Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with Rodriguez.

This was the first visit to the Department of State by a Cuban foreign minister since 1958.

The day was also marked by resumption of formal diplomatic relationship between the two countries.

“The foreign minister and I touched on a wide range of issues of mutual concern including cooperation on law enforcement, counter narcotics, telecommunications, the internet, environmental issues, human rights, including trafficking in persons,” he said.

Rodriguez said there are profound differences between Cuba and the US with regard to their views about the exercise of human rights by all persons all over the world, and also in issues related to international law, which will inevitably persist.

“But we strongly believe that we can both cooperate and coexist in a civilised way, based on the respect for these differences and the development of a constructive dialogue oriented to the wellbeing of our countries and peoples, and this continent, and the entire world,” he said.

The White House welcomed the “historic opening” of the US Embassy in Havana and the the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC.

The US and Cuba had severed diplomatic relations in 1961 and since the 1970s have been represented in each other’s capitals by limited-service interests sections.

On December 17, US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro announced they would resume full diplomatic relations.

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