Cuba, Panama resume consular ties

SAN JOSE, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Cuba and Panama took the first step Friday to resume their diplomatic relations that were suspended in August after the then Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned four Cuba-Americans accused of trying to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Leaders of the two countries reached agreement to resume consular relations on the sidelines of the 14th Iberian-American Summit.

"Resuming consular relations has been the first agreement" between Panamanian President Martin Torrijos Espino and Vice President of the Cuban State Council Carlos Lage Davila, said Amado Riol, spokesman for the Cuban consulate in Costa Rica.

Riol added a complete resumption of ties will need further negotiations, and could "take a little longer."

The Cuban government cut off diplomatic relations with Panama after Moscoso pardoned four exiles accused by Cuba of trying to kill Castro, saying the release is for "humanitarian reasons."

The decision came just a week before the end of Moscoso's tenure. Panama's new President Torrijos vowed to resume diplomaticrelations with Cuba in his September inauguration speech.


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