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Havana Talks: Embassies, Flights, Banking on Agenda for Diplomats

The two countries are working toward normal relations for the first time in half a century.

Diplomats from the United States and Cuba sat down Thursday for a second day of historic talks in Havana, with a focus on establishing embassies in each other’s capitals.

As they work to normalize relations for the first time in half a century, the two countries were also expected to tackle how to establish regular commercial flights, a process that could take a year, and how to open a banking relationship. Cuba also wants to be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism — a step the United States says it will consider. The Americans, meanwhile, want to make sure Cubans have freer access to the Internet.

The head of the U.S. delegation, Roberta Jacobson, called a morning session "positive and productive dialogue," and confirmed that the discussion included how the U.S. would operate an embassy in Havana.

"Our efforts to normalize relations will be a continuing process that goes beyond establishing diplomatic relations or opening an embassy," Jacobson, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said in a statement. "Today, we have made further steps in this new direction."

Both delegations were continuing the bilateral talks during an afternoon session Thursday.



— Andrea Mitchell, Abigail Williams and Erin McClam