US President Optimistic about Further Progress in Process to Re-Establish Diplomatic Relations with Cuba

Photo: Donald Delahaye President of the United States, Barack Obama, addresses the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-US Summit at the University of the West Indies, Regional Headquarters, in St. Andrew, Jamaica. The Summit was one of the activities scheduled for the President’s brief visit to the island. President Obama left Jamaica on April 9 for Panama to attend the Seventh Summit of the Americas.

Story Highlights

  • United States President, Barack Obama, is optimistic that further progress will be made during this year and into 2016, in the process to re-establish diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba.
  • Noting that the process “(is) going to take some time” to materialise, Mr. Obama said “there will still be significant differences, given their system of government (and) given their position on some of the issues in the region.”
  • The President alluded to an “interesting” poll conducted recently, the results of which, he said, were released “just over the last several days,” showing “overwhelming” support in Cuba for the move to re-establish diplomatic relations.

United States President, Barack Obama, is optimistic that further progress will be made during this year and into 2016, in the process to re-establish diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba.

Addressing journalists on Thursday (April 9), following a high level bilateral meeting with Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, at Jamaica House, Mr. Obama noted that the process is “proceeding, as I expected” and “I do think that we will be in a position to move forward on the opening of embassies in the respective countries.”

“There are details and negotiations around that. Cuba has moved forward in the negotiations that they have had with our State Department, consistent with what we announced back in December. So, my expectation is that during the course of this year and into next year, you will see a series of steps and measures that are taken to build trust and to establish genuine dialogue,” the President said.

Noting that the process “(is) going to take some time” to materialise, Mr. Obama said “there will still be significant differences, given their system of government (and) given their position on some of the issues in the region.”

“But, we are confident that this process of engagement will ultimately lead to not just improved relations between the United States and Cuba, but will also end up being beneficial for the Cuban people… to give them the kinds of opportunities that they might not have had in the past,” he added.

The President alluded to an “interesting” poll conducted recently, the results of which, he said, were released “just over the last several days,” showing “overwhelming” support in Cuba for the move to re-establish diplomatic relations.

“I think there is a great interest among ordinary Cubans to be able to put one era behind them and to be able to move forward and have the kinds of relationship with the United States, and the rest of the world, that is reflective of the fact that we have a 21st Century integrated global economy, and that they have to be a part of it,” Mr. Obama said.

For her part, Prime Minister Simpson Miller reiterated her Administration’s support for the process of re-engagement being pursued by the United States and Cuba.

The bilateral meeting between Mrs. Simpson Miller and Mr. Obama formed part of activities for the two-day visit by the US President.

 

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