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Cuba prepared to exchange ambassadors with United States

By Andrew V. Pestano
Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama have been attempting to normalize damaged relations caused during the Cold War. File Photo: The White House/Twitter
Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama have been attempting to normalize damaged relations caused during the Cold War. File Photo: The White House/Twitter

HAVANA, May 13 (UPI) -- Cuba is prepared to exchange ambassadors with the United States after the communist country is removed from the U.S.'s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

President of Cuba, Raul Castro, announced on Tuesday he would be ready for the ambassador exchange. President Obama announced in April he would remove Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list after the country was put on it in 1982.

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"This sort of unjust accusation is about to be lifted, and we'll be able to name ambassadors," Castro said as he spoke to reporters at the Havana airport as French President Francois Hollande departed from his visit to Cuba.

Castro also said negotiations with the United States are "going well."

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"Many people are wondering and criticizing why we are going very slowly with the negotiations," Castro said. "Why do we have to rush? To make mistakes?"

"We don't want to take any measures that would sacrifice our people. That's the most important thing," Havana-based news agency Prensa Latina quoted Castro as saying.

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Cuba will be officially removed from the list on May 29 and the ambassador exchange could occur sometime after.

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The U.S. Department of State released a statement, wary about Castro's comments.

"An exchange of ambassadors would be a logical step only once we re-establish diplomatic relations," the statement said. "There is no set time as we are still in negotiations."

The United States and Cuba have been undergoing negotiations to normalize relations, which could see the end of an embargo against Cuba first imposed in 1960.

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