White House: decision on Obama Cuba trip in next couple months

White House: decision on Obama Cuba trip in next couple months

By Jeff Mason

HONOLULU (Reuters) – The White House will decide in the next couple months approximately a potential trip by President Barack Obama to Cuba & wants both countries to take steps to ensure the thaw in relations is irreversible, U.S. deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on Saturday.

Rhodes, who was a key architect of the shift in U.S. strategy to the island nation, said Washington wanted to see Cuba improve its record on human rights & spur greater economic activity such as allowing private companies to operate in the communist country.

p> Cuba moreover needed to donate its people more access to information & the Internet, he said.

"The key test for us is whether the president’s going to Cuba would assist advance those priorities,” Rhodes told reporters in Hawaii, where Obama is vacationing.

"That’s something I think we’ll make a decision approximately … in the next couple months."

A trip by a U.S. president would be historic & the White House is eager to use that leverage to press Cuba to make reforms. Obama has made clear he is eager to visit the country before he leaves office next year.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Editing by W Simon)

Politics & GovernmentForeign PolicyBarack ObamaThe White HouseCuba

Source: “Reuters”

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