The U.S. and Cuban foreign ministers meet for their highest-level talks in more than half a century. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION The U.S. and Cuban foreign ministers sat down for talks late on Thursday (April 9) in the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the early days of the Cuban revolution more than half a century ago. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez in a Panama City hotel, the latest step toward better ties since President Barack Obama announced a historic shift in Cuba policy on December 17. Kerry and Rodriguez talked sitting face to face on separate white couches in a room visible through a large glass window. The meeting appeared to last more than two hours and broke up at around 11:30 p.m. At times, Kerry gesticulated to Rodriguez with his hands as security officials stood guard outside. The meeting took place on the eve of the Summit of the Americas in Panama, where Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will cross paths along with other leaders in the region. Obama appears to be close to removing Cuba from the list of countries that the U.S. government says sponsor terrorism. Cuba's inclusion on the list has exacerbated tensions and made it harder for U.S. firms to do business in Cuba. The U.S. State Department has now recommended that Cuba be taken off the list, a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide said on Thursday. Obama's decision to move toward restoring full diplomatic ties marks a sea change in relations since the Cuban revolution, when U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the island on Jan. 1, 1959, as Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries seized control.