Politica

Historic meeting of top U.S. and Cuban diplomats in Panama City

Panama City, Apr 10 (EFE).- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez, have met in Panama City on the eve of the Summit of the Americas in the highest-level talks between the two countries in decades.

The U.S. State Department published a photo of the meeting on Thursday showing Kerry and Rodriguez shaking hands and another showing them seated together with other officials.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on grounds of anonymity, said the meeting was "lengthy" and "very constructive".

The two top diplomats agreed they had made progress and would continue working to resolve outstanding issues, said a brief statement issued by the U.S. Department of State.

Neither the Cuban government nor media offered any information about the talks.

The meeting between Kerry and Rodriguez was the first between the countries' chief diplomats since their presidents' moves last year to re-establish diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have already arrived in Panama City for the Seventh Summit of the Americas beginning Friday.

The White House has said that although there may be no formal meeting between the two leaders, they are likely to "interact" at the summit.

Speaking from Jamaica, Obama said Thursday that he had received a recommendation from Kerry for Cuba's removal from the U.S. State Department's list of states that sponsor terrorism, but that he had yet to make a decision on the matter.

Kerry's recommendation will be reviewed by a White House team that will then pass its conclusions to Obama.

Cuba, on the list since 1982, has demanded that it be removed from the list, without making it a "precondition" for resuming bilateral relations with the United States or the re-opening of embassies in the two nations' respective capitals.

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