April 10, 2015 11:55 am
Updated: April 10, 2015 6:58 pm

Obama, Castro speak by phone amid effort to restore ties


WATCH: For the first time in over half a century, the leaders of the United States and Cuba are sitting down for their first substantial meeting at the Summit of the Americas. Eric Sorensen reports.

PANAMA CITY – President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro have spoken by phone ahead of an expected encounter at a regional summit in Panama.

Jorge Leganoa, deputy director of Cuba’s state-run National Information Agency, says Obama and Castro spoke by phone.

The White House says the call came Wednesday, before the president left Washington.

Both leaders arrived in Panama City on Thursday for the Summit of the Americas.

It’s only the second known conversation between the leaders of the U.S. and Cuba in more than 50 years.

The first was in December, shortly before Obama and Castro announced plans to restore diplomatic ties. That process is currently underway.

The two leaders aren’t scheduled to meet formally while in Panama but are expected to interact on the sidelines of the summit.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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