US wants end to travel curbs, set up embassy in Cuba talks
Updated: 2015-01-20 09:00
WASHINGTON/HAVANA - The United States will urge Cuba to lift travel restrictions on US diplomats and agree to opening embassies in historic talks on restoring relations this week in Havana, a senior State Department official said on Monday.
The talks will be led by Roberta Jacobson, the top US diplomat for Latin America, in the first visit to Cuba in 38 years by a US assistant secretary of state.
"We are looking forward to the Cubans lifting travel restrictions," the official told reporters, referring to curbs that mean US diplomats are typically not allowed outside Havana. The same applies to Cuban officials in Washington.
The official said Washington hoped to restore its embassy in Havana in "the coming months."
"It is hard to know exactly what will come out of this first conversation," the official said, referring to the talks set for Wednesday and Thursday. "I am not oblivious to the weight of history."
President Barack Obama reset Cuba policy on Dec 17. Washington and Havana held 18 months of secret talks before announcing they would re-establish diplomatic ties and exchange prisoners.