The United States said on Wednesday (December 17) is planning to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, a major policy shift after decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island.

US President Barack Obama announced the changes in an announcement at 12 noon on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama announced a move to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba on Wednesday (December 17), saying it is time to "cut loose the shackles of the past."