The Cuban flag has been raised at the US State Department, in a historic gesture to mark renewed diplomatic ties between Havana and Washington as embassies were re-established in their respective capitals. Diplomatic relations officially resumed at the stroke of midnight on Monday and the Cuban banner was hoisted a few hours later, in a move toward burying decades of enmity between the Cold War foes seeking to normalise relations. At about 4am (1800 AEST) the Cuban banner took its place among a row of flags from around the world adorning the State Department’s imposing marble entrance in the US capital as workers hoisted it up a newly installed flag pole, according to an AFP photographer. The banner took its place between the flags of Croatia to the left and Cyprus to the right. And for the first time since 1961, the standard – with a white star inside a red triangle against white and blue stripes – will also fly over Havana’s newly upgraded embassy in Washington, just a stone’s throw from the White House. In yet another historic gesture, US Secretary of State John Kerry will formally receive his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez for talks Monday, before holding a joint news conference. Ahead of the meeting, Rodriguez will preside over a ceremony to mark the upgrading of the Cuban interests section to a full embassy.
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Newsline: US, Cuba restore ties, open embassies