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Senior U.S. diplomat holds rare talks in Cuba

RIA Novosti

12:36 30/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - A senior U.S. diplomat held the first high-level talks with Cuba's government in several years during a recent visit to Havana, U.S. State Department officials said.

Bisa Williams, acting deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs, met with Deputy Foreign Minister Dagoberto Rodriguez during her visit to Cuba two weeks ago, which focused on resuming postal links between Cuba and the U.S.

The meeting provides the latest sign of the U.S. government's willingness to improve relations with Cuba.

CNN quoted Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley as saying on Tuesday that the meeting represents "getting back to something we used to do regularly... We've done this before, and we are starting to do it again."

Despite U.S. President Barack Obama's declared aim of "recasting" relations with Cuba, which were severed after the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, Washington's trade embargo on Cuba remains in place.

However, in April this year the U.S. canceled restrictions on money transfers from former Cuban nationals living in the U.S. to their relatives in Cuba.

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