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Cuban flag flies over Washington as both countries re-establish diplomatic relations

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Edwardo Clark, a Cuban-American, holds an American and a Cuban flag as he celebrates outside the new Cuban embassy in Washington
Edwardo Clark, a Cuban-American, holds an American and a Cuban flag as he celebrates outside the new Cuban embassy in Washington

The Cuban flag has been raised in Washington to applause and cheers of Fidel Viva and Raoul Viva as the Caribbean country and the United States officially re-established diplomatic relations and re-opened their embassies.

The Cuban Minister of Foreign Relations travelled to the US for the occasion and brought the greetings of President Castro with him.

Cuban Minster Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parilla said the day was paving the way to the long and challenging process ahead to normalise relations between the two countries.

There were also several protestors outside the re-opened Cuban Embassy and at least one has been arrested as he tried to throw paint at the newly raised flag.

In Havana, the US Interests Section also today officially became the US Embassy.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cuba in August to celebrate the opening of the embassy and to raise the US flag.

Differences remain and efforts toward full normalisation between the United States and the Communist-ruled island are expected to proceed slowly.

The steps culminated more than two years of negotiations between governments that had long shunned each other.

The re-establishment of embassies, agreed to on 1 July, opens a new chapter of engagement by easing government contacts heavily constrained since the United States broke off relations in 1961.