Cuba and France confirm the excellent state of bilateral relations and high-level political dialogue with the visit to France by Cuban President Raúl Castro, invited by his French counterpart, François Hollande.

Cuba and France confirm the excellent state of bilateral relations and high-level political dialogue with the visit to France by Cuban President Raúl Castro, invited by his French counterpart, François Hollande.The Cuban president’s stay in France on February 1 and 2 is a sign of the island’s will to further expand and diversify bilateral relations in the fields of politics, economy and trade, finance, investment, cooperation and culture, Cuba’s Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra told the press.

„France is a major partner for Cuba, with which we maintain significant bonds of cooperation and mutual understanding,” the deputy minister said.

The Cuban president’s visit marks a new stage in the strengthening of bilateral relations, said the French government. The two countries recall that Raúl Castro’s visit to France is the continuation of Hollande’s fruitful trip to Havana on May 11, 2015, the first official visit by a French president to Cuba.

Hollande, who came accompanied by a large delegation of ministers, members of parliament, and officials from teaching and scientific institutions, was welcomed by Raúl Castro and also met with the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.

“Coming to Cuba means coming to a country that has represented a form of expression and of fighting for dignity and independence on behalf of Latin America. This explains why the country plays such a major role in many mediation efforts and in favor of peace,” said Hollande when giving a conference at the University of Havana’s Main Lecture Hall.

During the conference, he also called for the U.S. blockade against Cuba to be lifted, and added he would do anything possible to help put an end to those measures.

Cuba and France confirm the excellent state of bilateral relations and high-level political dialogue with the visit to France by Cuban President Raúl Castro, invited by his French counterpart, François Hollande.While in Havana, the French president also attended a business meeting where details on the process for updating the Cuban economic model were provided, as well as long term prospects and existing potentialities for the two countries to consolidate economic and commercial relations.

Similarly, he attended the signing of four cooperational agreements in scientific research, higher education and cultural promotion between universities and institutions from the two countries, and inaugurated a new venue for the French Alliance at Havana’s Paseo del Prado promenade.

Shortly before leaving on May 12, Hollande gave thanks for the warm welcome and called the visit highly useful.

The French president’s visit to Cuba took place nearly 20 years after Fidel Castro made a State visit to France in March 1995, during the last weeks of the François Mitterrand government (1981-1995).

Hence, Raúl Castro’s trip marks a new milestone in the history of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, which were established in 1902, and in the strong historical and cultural links.

France is Cuba’s fifth largest trading partner in Europe and eleventh in the world. Currently the bilateral economic ties between the two countries focus on the exchange of food and industrial products, tourism, telecommunications and transportation, with possibilities to spread to other areas such as science and technology.

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