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Cuba grants visa to senior US diplomat to lead Havana embassy

Cuba grants visa to senior US diplomat to lead Havana embassy


REUTERS
HAVANA/WASHINGTON
Cuba has given a visa to a senior American diplomat to lead the US embassy in Havana, a US official said, in a sign both nations want to keep open lines of communication despite a sharp deterioration in relations since President Donald Trump took office.
The diplomat, Philip Goldberg, will take up the post as charge d'affaires within days, the US official said. He will head a mission that Washington stripped of many staff four months ago amid a dispute over mystery illnesses among its diplomats on the Communist-run island. He is likely to spend about six months in the position though the length of his stint is not certain, said the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Goldberg would be the highest ranking US foreign service officer to serve as charge d'affaires in Havana, said the US official. The fact that Washington selected a diplomat of his rank - one of the senior-most serving career US diplomats - and that Havana accepted him when it could have stalled or rejected him suggests a desire on both sides to maintain links.
The US State Department declined comment. The Cuban foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Goldberg, whose selection for the job was first reported in December, has previously served as ambassador in the Philippines.

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