UN chief welcomes promise of renewed US-Cuba ties

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is welcoming the promise of full diplomatic relations between the United Nations and Cuba, saying the U.N. General Assembly has long pressed for this.

The U.N. chief told a news conference Wednesday that he was informed in advance of the announcement by the U.S. government.

He called the development "very positive" and thanked the U.S. and Cuban presidents "for taking this very important step."

"I sincerely hope that ... this announcement will help to expand further the exchanges between the two peoples," Ban said. "The United Nations stands ready to help both countries to cultivate their good neighborly relations."

The U.N. General Assembly has voted for 23 years in a row to condemn the U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba.

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