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US, Cuba Working on 'Ambitious' Agenda to Further Ties

FILE - The U.S. flag waves outside the newly opened U.S. Embassy, overlooking Havana's seaside boulevard, the Malecon in Cuba, Aug. 14, 2015.

The Cuban foreign ministry's head of U.S. affairs says the two countries have a "very ambitious" agenda for progressing their thaw in relations during U.S. President Barack Obama's final months in office.

Josefina Vidal said Monday after meeting with U.S. officials in Havana that the two sides are working toward cooperation on law enforcement, medicine and agriculture.

Those meetings continue Tuesday with Cuban-born U.S. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and officials from Cuba's Interior Ministry discussing countering drug traffickers, cybercrime, counterterrorism and illegal migration.

The State Department said future sessions will involve human rights and settling financial claims.

The U.S. and Cuba re-established diplomatic relations last July after 54 years. The relationship took another major step forward with Obama's visit to Cuba in March.

Vidal said progress will be gradual, but that what is important is that normalization of relations has begun. She also expressed hope that the whoever wins the U.S. presidential election in November will continue furthering ties with Cuba.