Cuba and the US establish banking ties ahead of diplomatic talks

Establishment of banking ties clears an important hurdle for ties between the countries

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The Independent US

A small Florida bank has become the first in the US to open a bank account for the Cuban government, effectively establishing banking ties between the two countries, an important step in improving relations.

Stonegate Bank has opened an account for the Cuban government, whose members previously had to deal in cash when doing business in the US, according to CNBC.

Establishing banking ties is seen as an important step in improving US relations with Cuba, a top goal of the Obama administration. Talks between the State Department and the Cuban government are set to resume on Thursday and could be the last round of negotiations before embassies are reopened.

US President Barack Obama announced in December his goal for improving relations with Cuba, which has been estranged from the US for more than 50 years. Mr Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have since held talks about re-establishing diplomatic ties.

The US will remove Cuba from its list of sponsors of terrorism on 29 May, a move seen as crucial in repairing relations. Even if the countries re-open embassies, the trade embargo can only be thrown out by US Congress.


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