WASHINGTON - American and Cuban diplomats are planning informal meetings in the United States to discuss expanded relations between the two countries, New York Times reported on Monday.
The US and Cuba do not have diplomatic relations, and the US has kept a strict trade embargo against the Caribbean island for the last 47 years.
The planned meetings with Cuban officials would be held with the goal of trying to find out ways and means to open formal channels with Havana for later discussion of issues regarding relations and shared security issues between the US and the communist state, NYT reported while citing US officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
The details and scope of the administrations outreach to Cuba are still being worked out, they said. But their comments indicated a departure from the previous stance of the White House that it would not make further moves towards engagement until the Castro government reciprocated Obamas lifting of restrictions on Cuban-Americans who wished to travel to Cuba or send money to relatives on the island.
Obama has faced mounting pressure from Latin America and from his own supporters to do more for reversing the trade embargo against Havana. Cuba has become the litmus test by which many Latin American nations measure the United States commitment to improving relations with the region.
One unnamed official quoted by the newspaper cautioned that the effort to open communications with the Cuban government might still fail.