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Raúl Castro, Obama Meet to Further Cuban Normalization Process

September 29, 2015

NEW YORK—President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro met on Tuesday alongside a gathering of world leaders, giving a high-level push to the normalization process under way between the two countries.

U.S.-Cuban relations over the past year have been full of firsts, and now include Tuesday’s formal summit between Messrs. Castro and Obama at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

They shook hands as they began their meeting, but made no statements before meeting for 35 minutes.

White House officials said afterward that Mr. Obama reviewed recent regulatory changes meant to loosen a long-standing economic embargo, and urged Mr. Castro to make necessary overhauls to maximize the impact of the changes....

...Separate talks on civil aviation and mail service are ongoing. During the September meeting of the working group, a State Department official said the U.S. and Cuba agreed to try to start talks on two contentious areas: human rights and competing property and damage claims.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will head to Cuba next week for talks with Cuban officials on U.S. regulations and Cuba’s economy.

The leaders’ summit Tuesday at the very least demonstrates the high priority both sides place on advancing the process, said Alana Tumino, head of the Council of Americas’ Cuba working group....

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