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Obama letter to Castro reestablishes U.S.-Cuba diplomatic ties

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After 54 years without formal diplomatic relations, the United States announced on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, it would be reopening an embassy in Cuba. The former U.S. embassy, closed in 1961 can be seen in the center of this photograph

WASHINGTON  — A U.S. diplomat delivered a note from President Barack Obama to Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The short ceremony at the Cuban Foreign Ministry in Havana ended 54 years of broken relations that began during the Eisenhower administration. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section, delivered the note.

Diplomatic relations will be officially reestablished on July 20th, according to a statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry. The country will also open its embassy in Washington that day.

A U.S. official told CNN that the government is working to determine a date for the ceremonial opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to attend that event.

The opening of embassies is the culmination of Obama’s initiative to thaw relations begun in December. Travel restrictions have been loosened since that time and some new economics ties have been established. The U.S. removed Cuba from its state sponsors of terror list in May.

However, many restrictions are the subject of legislation, and Congress has shown little inclination to rescind them.

Obama met Castro during a summit meeting in Panama in April. It was the first time the leaders of the two countries had met in more than 50 years.

By Eugene Scott

CNN’s Jim Acosta, Kevin Liptak, Elise Labott and Patrick Oppmann contributed to this report.