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Dec 19, 2:32 PM EST

Obama: Debate to lift Cuban trade embargo not expected soon

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says it will likely be a while before Capitol Hill begins a debate about possibly lifting the trade embargo with Cuba, which must be done by Congress.

Obama spoke Friday during his year-end news conference, shortly before he was leaving the White House for a Hawaii vacation.

The news conference came two days after the president made the surprise announcement that he was moving to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba after half a century of Cold War acrimony. Obama has said it's clear that isolating Cuba has not worked.

He says changes in Cuba could come quickly, or slower than he would like to see, but that change will come.

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