US to host talks with Cuba on re-establishing diplomatic relations

The State Department announced Thursday that it will host talks with Cuba on re-establishing diplomatic relations, with the intention of opening a U.S. Embassy in the Cuban capital.

“A U.S. Embassy in Havana will allow the United States to more effectively promote our interests and values, and increase engagement with the Cuban people,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The talks, scheduled for May 21, will be hosted by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson.

President Obama announced in December that the U.S. and Cuba were ending a half-century of hostilities, which has in part allowed travel between the countries.

In April Obama announced his intention to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror.

Cuba was put on the list in 1982 due to its efforts to promote armed revolution by organizations that used terrorism, according to the White House.

The State Department says that since the December announcement, the U.S. and Cuba have communication on a number of “matters of mutual concern” including migration, law enforcement, environmental issues and human trafficking.