The United States and Cuba on Thursday (1 September) took their first step towards the resumption of full diplomatic relations, which were broken off abruptly more than 16 years ago.
LV & SV. Ambassador and representatives from various countries waiting inside and outside US Embassy to greet chief of American delegation (THREE SHOTS)
SV & CU: Mr. Lyle Lane welcoming guests (THREE SHOTS)
SV: Diplomats arriving at government building in Washington
CU & SV: Mr. Phillip Habib arrives (TWO SHOTS)
SV INT: Head of Cuban mission (left) standing with another official and Mr. Habib (THREE SHOTS)
CU: Under secretary of State Habib speaks
CU: Leader of cuban delegation Ramon Sanchez Parodi speaks in English
GV & SV: Former Cuban Embassy in Washington with guards outside (FOUR SHOTS)
FRANCIS: "The Cuban Foreign Ministry and Havana's diplomatic community today welcomed the Americans back to Cuba. The new US capital interest section is now officially open, ending 16 years of diplomatic estrangements between Washington and Havana. Ambassadors and representatives of 60 countries came to the US Embassy to greet the chief of the American delegation, career Foreign Service officer Lyle Lane. Lane and a permanent staff of nine will occupy three floors of the Embassy. Twenty other State Department employees will stay on for a few months and 30 to 40 Cuban nationals will be hired to do secretarial and maintenance work."
VALERIANI: "In Washington, a large part of the capital's diplomatic community turned out to welcome the Cubans. The United States was represented by their number three man at the State Department, Philip Habib, who'll be the highest-ranking American official the Cubans will get to deal with. There was no ceremony beyond brief speeches by Habib and the head of the Cuban mission."
HABIB: "In practical terms, consular services now become available directly through the presence of consular representatives. On a border basis, a direct dialogue is now possible, on issues of mutual benefit to our peoples. And this is good."
SANCHEZ-PARODI: "Our people and our government have repeatedly stated the need to eliminate the economic and trade blockade that currently exists against Cuba as a step forward establishing and normalising official relations of all kinds between Cuba and the Unites States."
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Background: The United States and Cuba on Thursday (1 September) took their first step towards the resumption of full diplomatic relations, which were broken off abruptly more than 16 years ago. In simultaneous ceremonies in Havana, Cuba, and Washington, the two countries re-opened missions to represent their interests. Fred Francis and Richard Valeriani, of NBC, report.