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EU-Cuba thaw could happen in months

A deal to restore relations between the European Union and Cuba could be in place by the end of the year, the bloc's foreign affairs chief says.

Federica Mogherini has met Cuban president Raul Castro to speed up talks aimed at normalising ties with the island's communist government.

The visit to Havana by Ms Mogherini comes as Cuban officials negotiate the terms of a historic diplomatic opening with the United States.

"We are in the process of accelerating the pace of negotiations and finalising an agreement perhaps by the end of the year," Ms Mogherini said at the end of the visit.

She said she welcomed the talks between Cuba and Washington but insisted that the negotiations between the EU and Havana were "completely separate".

The EU froze relations with Cuba in 2003 following Havana's arrest of dissidents. The process to restore ties began in 2014.

Ms Mogherini also signed an agreement to give 50 million euros (£36.7m) to Cuba's agriculture sector.

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