In a historic press conference in the State Department - the heart of US global diplomacy - the head of the Cuban delegation, Josefina Vidal, renewed a call for Havana to be removed from the US blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism.
"We made progress in our discussions," Vidal said on Friday after meeting with a US delegation led by the top US diplomat for Latin America, Roberta Jacobson.
She stressed that while Havana was not linking the lifting of its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism to the restoration of diplomatic relations, the move should happen before ties can be renewed.
"It would be very difficult to explain that Cuba and the United States have established normal diplomatic relations when Cuba is kept on this list," she said, reiterating that Havana believed it should never have been included on the blacklist in the first place.
But Secretary of State John Kerry earlier rebuffed Cuba's demand to have the designation, in place since 1982, lifted immediately, saying the review in place would run its course.
"The state sponsored terrorism designation is a separate process, it is not a negotiation," Kerry said.
"And that evaluation will be made appropriately and nothing will be done with respect to the list until the evaluation is completed."
The issue has practical as well as symbolic importance to the Cubans because the designation complicates its access to the global banking system.
Vidal also called for provisions to be made to help its interests section in Washington gain access to financial institutions.
The talks at the State Department are only the second since President Barack Obama and Cuba's President Raul Castro surprised the world in December with their decision to restore ties after more than a half century of Cold War enmity.

The hope is that within the coming months, both nations will agree to reopen embassies in each other's capitals and appoint full-fledged ambassadors. Currently they operate through so-called interests sections in Havana and Washington.

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