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Obama wants Cuba to make next move to improve ties


MEXICO CITY, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. President Barack Obama said he is waiting for Havana to make the next step to improve relations after Washington lifted curbs on visits and money sent to Cuba.

Earlier this week, Obama announced that Americans with relatives in Cuba would be able to visit and send money to the Caribbean island.

"There are a range of steps that could be taken on the part of the Cuban government that would start to show that they want to move beyond the patterns of the last 50 years," Obama said following a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

However, he also said again that the U.S. would not end its trade embargo against the communist island without steps from Cuba's leaders on lifting restrictions on its own people.

Cuban President Raul Castro responded to Obama's statement by saying that Havana was willing to discuss "everything - human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners," but only on the condition that Cuba was regarded as an equal in any discussions, and that Washington recognized "the Cuban people's right to self-determination."

The United States imposed an economic, trade and financial embargo against Cuba in 1962, three years after the Cuban Revolution that saw the downfall of Washington-backed dictator Gen. Fulgencio Batista.

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