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Obama: US Ending Outdated Approach To Cuba


9: 15 A.M. (AP) - President Barack Obama says the U.S. will end its outdated approach to Cuba that has failed to advance U.S. interests.

Obama is announcing Wednesday that the U.S. and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties.

Obama says the U.S. is changing its relationship with Cuba. He says it's the most significant change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in more than 50 years.

Obama says the U.S. will now begin to normalize its relations with Cuba and begin a new chapter. He says the U.S. intends to create more opportunities for Americans and Cubans to work together.

9 A.M. (AP) - The United States is making its most significant shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba in decades.

According to U.S. officials, the two countries will be starting talks about normalizing diplomatic relations.

The announcement comes amid a series of new confidence-building measures between the longtime foes. Those steps include the release of American Alan Gross, who has been jailed in Cuba for five years. As part of the secret negotiations to secure his release, the U.S. is freeing three Cubans who were jailed in Florida for spying.

Gross is on a U.S. government plane, headed home, after being released on humanitarian grounds at the request of the Obama administration. U.S. officials have considered his detention an impediment to improved relations with Cuba.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce the changes in policy toward Cuba at noon today.

Obama has taken some steps to ease U.S. restrictions on Cuba after Raul Castro took over as president in 2010 from his ailing brother. He has sought to ease travel and financial restrictions on Americans with family in Cuba, but has resisted calls to drop the embargo.