US politicians visit Cuba as relations thaw

Delegation visits Havana to discuss first steps of normalisation of relations between the United States and Cuba.

    US politicians visit Cuba as relations thaw
    The politicians' visit is the first of its kind since the two countries agreed to restore ties severed in 1961 [EPA]

    A delegation of US congressional Democrats began a three-day visit to Cuba to discuss expectations for the normalisation of relations between the United States and the island nation.

    The delegation's leader, senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said in a statement on Saturday that the politicians want to explore opportunities for greater cooperation and encourage Cuban officials to address issues of concern to Americans and their representatives in Congress.

    New York governor Andrew Cuomo is planning a trade mission to Cuba to promote the state, spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa said on Saturday. Details were not announced.

    Travelling with Leahy were senators Dick Durbin, Debbie Stabenow and Sheldon Whitehouse along with congressmen Chris Van Hollen and Peter Welch.

    Last month, President Barack Obama announced plans for renewed economic ties and other administration-led initiatives aimed at re-establishing relations with Cuba. Many congressional Republicans have been cool to the effort.

    SOURCE: AP


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