Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior State Department official says Cuba has established a banking relationship in the U.S., clearing a major obstacle to re-establishing diplomatic relations.

The official refused Tuesday to identify the bank, but said the Cuban government would make an announcement soon.

Reports had suggested Cuba was negotiating with a Florida-based bank. The official wasn’t authorized to be quoted by name and briefed reporters anonymously.

Restoring banking operations was among Cuba’s biggest demands as diplomats negotiate to restore embassies in Washington and Havana after a half-century interruption.

Without an account, Cuba’s Interests Section in Washington has to pay bills and salaries with cash and must bring in money from Cuba to maintain operations.

Another major hurdle, the U.S. designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, expires May 29.

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