U.S. President Barack Obama says Americans and Cubans ''are ready to move forward'' as he announces an agreement to reopen embassies in both countries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama said on Wednesday (July 1) the United States has agreed to the historic step of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will raise its flag over a U.S. Embassy in Havana this summer. "Today I can announce the U.S. has agreed to formally re-establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba and re-open embassies in our respective countries," Obama said in a statement in the White House Rose Garden. "Americans and Cubans alike are ready to move forward. I believe it's time for Congress to do the same," he added, referring to his request for them to life the embargo. The United States and Cuba began secret negotiations on restoring ties in mid-2013, leading to the landmark announcement on Dec. 17, 2014, when Obama and Castro said separately that they had swapped prisoners and would seek to normalize relations.