A foreign policy legacy for President Barack Obama, the historic turnaround between two bitter foes has come about at breakneck pace, in just a matter of months since the two sides agreed to bury the hatchet and work together as equals.

The shift came after Washington acknowledged that its policy of trying to affect change in tightly controlled communist Cuba through isolation and trade restrictions had failed, and that engaging Havana directly was a better way to nudge it towards democracy and prosperity.

For the first time since 1961, the Cuban flag will fly over Havana's newly upgraded embassy in Washington, just a stone's throw from the White House.

The standard with a white star inside a red triangle against white and blue stripes will also take its place among a row of flags from around the world adorning the State Department's imposing marble entrance in the US capital.

In yet another historic gesture, US Secretary of State John Kerry will formally receive his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez for talks today, before holding a joint press conference around 1:45 pm.

Earlier, Rodriguez will preside over a ceremony to mark the upgrading of the Cuban interests section to a full embassy.
The rapprochement was announced on December 17, as Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro agreed to end their countries' estrangement and put them on track towards a full normalization of ties. After a series of negotiations in Havana and Washington, the restoration of diplomatic relations has come about just seven months later.

Latest News from World News Desk