Cuba flag raised at U.S. state dept as diplomatic ties resume

A Cuban flag flies among empty flag polls near the U.S. Interests Section building, behind, in Havana, Sunday, July 19, 2015. (AP)

The United States and Cuba formally resumed diplomatic relations Monday, as the Cuban flag was raised at the U.S. State Department in a historic gesture toward ending decades of hostility between the Cold war foes.

The Cuban red, white and blue standard joined the flags of other U.S. allies flying outside the building in the U.S. capital at about 4:00 am (0800 GMT), according to an AFP photographer.

The flag was also set to be raised at Havana's diplomatic mission in Washington -- upgraded to an embassy as diplomatic ties formally resumed after the stroke of midnight -- for the first time since 1961.

The U.S. interests section in Havana was also upgraded to a full embassy, with a more formal ceremony set to take place when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visits in the coming weeks and officially hoists the banner.

Kerry will formally receive his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez for talks in Washington later Monday, and Rodriguez will preside over a ceremony at the Cuban embassy, a stone's throw from the White House.

The United States and Cuba announced on December 17 they would move toward normalizing relations after decades of enmity.

Several historic moments have taken place since then, including a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro in Paraguay in April -- the first face-to-face talks between a U.S. and Cuban president since the 1959 revolution.

In May, the United States removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, which was a key stumbling block.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46