President Obama leaves today for a trip to Jamaica and Panama where he will likely cross paths with Cuban president Raul Castro.
The two leaders are expected to meet during the Summit of the Americas, a meeting of Western Hemisphere leaders hosted in Panama City.
“I’m sure that President Obama will be interacting with President Castro at the summit events and as the leaders gather on the margins of those events,” explained White House National Security advisor Ben Rhodes in a conference call with reporters.
This is the first time that Cuba will attend the summit after decades of isolation from diplomatic relations with the United States.
Rhodes did not rule out a “formal bilateral meeting” between the two leaders, but that there would be “many opportunities” for conversations during the summit.
“We’ll certainly keep you updated as to any interactions the President has with Raul Castro,” he said.
Obama last met the Cuban dictator at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in 2013, where he controversially shook hands with him.
Obama is also expected to recommend removing Cuba from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.