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Apr 11, 2015

Obama, Castro shake hands as U.S., Cuba seek better ties

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro shook hands on Friday at a summit in Panama, a symbolically charged gesture as the pair seek to restore ties between the Cold War foes.

A photograph showed Obama and Castro, both wearing dark suits, chatting in a small group of leaders at the summit’s opening ceremony. A White House official confirmed the two men shook hands and spoke briefly.

Apr 10, 2015

Obama, Castro to share stage at summit as detente takes hold

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will share the same stage on Friday in an encounter rich with symbolism as their countries set aside decades of mistrust and attempt to restore diplomatic relations.

The rapprochement is set to dominate the Summit of the Americas meeting, held in Panama, less than four months after they announced they would seek to lower tensions and boost trade and travel between the two Cold War enemies.

Apr 10, 2015

U.S., Cuba hold highest-level meeting in more than 50 years

PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (Reuters) – The U.S. and Cuban foreign ministers met in Panama on Thursday, a U.S. official said, in the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the earliest days of the Cuban revolution more than half a century ago.

The discussions between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez marked the first time the two nations’ chief diplomats have met since a historic opening by President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, that was announced on Dec. 17 last year.

Apr 10, 2015

Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea

KINGSTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Washington is concerned China is using its “sheer size and muscle” to push around smaller nations in the South China Sea, just hours after Beijing gave a detailed defense of its creation of artificial islands in the contested waterway.

China’s rapid reclamation around seven reefs in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea has alarmed other claimants, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, and drawn growing criticism from U.S. government officials and the military.

Apr 10, 2015

U.S. State Dept. recommends removing Cuba from terrorism list: Senate source

WASHINGTON/KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department has recommended that President Barack Obama remove Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide said on Thursday.

Obama, speaking while on a short visit to Jamaica, said only that the State Department had completed its review but that he was waiting for a recommendation from his advisers and would not announce a decision on Thursday.

Apr 9, 2015

Obama tells Jamaicans to go easy on the ‘ganja’

KINGSTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama waded into a hot topic in Jamaica on Thursday when he was asked for his views on pot, an item close to the hearts – and minds – of many people in this Caribbean nation famous for its local “ganja” crop.

Obama chose the middle ground during a town hall of young leaders, saying jail was not the answer to the drug problem, but nor was legalization a “silver bullet.”

Apr 9, 2015

Obama touts clean energy in bid to restore U.S. leadership in Caribbean

KINGSTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama met with Jamaica’s prime minister on Thursday, announcing a major clean energy partnership ahead of a Caribbean summit where he hopes to reassert U.S. leadership in the region at time when oil-producing Venezuela’s economic clout may be receding.

The White House used the occasion to announce a major step towards healing its five-decades-old rift with Cuba, saying the State Department has completed a review of whether to remove the communist-ruled island from a state sponsors of terrorism list.

Apr 9, 2015

Obama: no decision yet on removing Cuba from terror sponsor list

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday that the U.S. State Department had completed its review of whether to remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism but that he had not received a recommendation yet from his advisers.

Speaking in Jamaica, where he is on a short visit, Obama said he would not announce a Cuba decision on Thursday. He said he would wait to receive recommendations from White House advisers before doing so.

Apr 9, 2015

In Jamaica, Obama seeks to reassert U.S. leadership in Caribbean

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – President Barack Obama arrived in Jamaica on Wednesday to attend a Caribbean summit seeking to reassert U.S. leadership in the region at time when oil-producing Venezuela’s economic clout may be receding.

As the first U.S. president to visit Kingston since Ronald Reagan in 1982, Obama faces the challenge of convincing Caribbean island leaders that Washington is genuinely re-engaging after a long period of perceived neglect of its smaller, poorer neighbors.

Apr 7, 2015

U.S. closing in on recommendation to remove Cuba from state terrorism list

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department is
closing in on a decision to recommend removal of Cuba from its
list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism, days before
President Barack Obama attends a regional summit with his Cuban
counterpart Raul Castro.

Obama ordered the review after announcing a diplomatic
breakthrough with Havana on Dec. 17 and has vowed to act quickly
once he receives the recommendation, which would mark a major
move toward ending five decades of estrangement.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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