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Cuba, US to hold last bilateral meeting before Trump takes office

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-07 11:04
HAVANA -- Cuba and the United States on Wednesday will hold the final round of talks on political and economic ties before president-elect Donald Trump assumes office next month.

Delegations from both countries will gather in Havana for the fifth meeting of a bilateral commission to normalize ties, according to a statement released by Cuba's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

The delegations "will discuss the results achieved since the creation of the bilateral commission in August of 2015 as a mechanism for normalizing ties between the two nations," the ministry said.

Josefina Vidal, head of US affairs at the Cuban ministry, and Mari Carmen Aponte, acting US assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, will preside over the talks, where both sides will also define "new steps" for the following weeks to continue strengthening ties.

"The bilateral agenda includes a high-level visit, new cooperation agreements in areas of common interest, as well as technical meetings and talks on various issues," added the ministry.

The meeting comes on the heels of Fidel Castro's death and Trump's recent remarks to the effect that he will reverse the historic rapprochement between the United States and Cuba, which is considered to be the main legacy of outgoing US President Barack Obama.

In a recent Twitter post, Trump said: "If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban-American people and the US as a whole, I will terminate deal."

While the US-led trade embargo against Cuba remains in place, the Cold War-ties have thawed in the past two years with increasing exchanges between the two governments and peoples, and relaxing certain restrictions.

In 2015, the two countries restored diplomatic ties and reopened their respective embassies.

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