Obama meets with Raúl Castro

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from The Hill,

President Obama met with Cuban leader Raúl Castro on Saturday afternoon in what Obama called a “historic meeting.”

“We are now in a position to move on a path toward the future,” Obama told the Cuban leader at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, according to pool reports.

“Over time, it is possible for us to turn the page and develop a new relationship between our two countries.”

He noted one of the first tasks the two countries will have to undertake is opening embassies in their respective capitals.

Through an interpreter, Castro said he agrees with Obama on all points. He said the two leaders can disagree while remaining respectful.

“We are willing to discuss everything but we need to be patient, very patient,” Castro said. “We might disagree on something today on which we could agree tomorrow.”

The two presidents noted the main hurdles to launching new embassies were practical concerns.

Obama said U.S. diplomats would need ease of access for their work in Cuba. He stated his hope ambassadors could move freely throughout the island’s borders.

“We would obviously need to have sufficient capability for diplomats to move around the country,” Obama said.

Castro, meanwhile, hoped a potential Cuban embassy in the U.S. could access American banks.

He also called on Obama to end the trade embargo on Cuba and remove his nation from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

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