Cuban state news agency restarts operations in Washington

Warming relations between Cuba and the United States has included the re-opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington, pictured here in 2015 (AFP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (POOL/AFP/File)

Washington (AFP) - Cuba's state news agency Prensa Latina officially restarted journalism operations in the US capital of Washington on Friday, unfreezing 50 years of inactivity and marking another step in the rapprochement between America and the Communist island.

"The agency had a functioning office in Washington from 1959 to 1967," even after the US cut diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961, one of the Cuban journalists in the bureau, Diony Sanabria, told AFP.

Its reopening was made possible under a 2014 thaw in relations agreed by then-US president Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro, which has already seen the return of each country's embassy operations in the other two years ago.

Prensa Latina's chief, Luis Enrique Gonzalez, was participating in the agency's reopening ceremony Friday.

Although the Obama-Castro deal has relaxed tensions dating back to the Cold War and restored ties, the easing of many American sanctions on Cuba is dependent on the US Congress.

With the arrival of President Donald Trump in the White House and the dominance of his Republican party in both houses of the legislature, the future of the bilateral thaw is seen to be under a cloud of uncertainty.