France hails Obama and Castro's decision to normalize diplomatic relations

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-12-18 8:51:57

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday hailed the move of American and Cuban leaders to open a new chapter on their diplomatic relations which have been severed since 1961.

"The United States and Cuba have announced their decision to restore diplomatic relations after the closure of their embassies since more than a half-century. This decision will pave the way for full normalization and I hope, to lift the embargo on the country," Fabius said.

"France is strongly committed in recent years on European Union and Cuba reconciliation. France will continue to help Cuban people in the new phase of their history," the minister added.

Under prisoner swap, Cuba released American Alan Gross in exchange for three Cubans held by the United States.

Gross was convicted of espionage by a Cuban court in 2011 and sentenced to 15 years for bringing telecommunication devices into Cuba while working as a subcontractor for the US Agency for International Development.

Announcing "a new approach" in Washington relations with Havana, American President Barack Obama ordered "to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations".

Following the historic shift in policy, the United States will relax trade rules and ease restrictions on travelers to and from Cuba.

Posted in: Europe

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