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Raul Castro to attend Summit of the American in April

Cuba's President Raul Castro greets members of the National Assembly at the start of a session in Havana, December 20, 2014. | Photo: Reuters Cuba's President Raul Castro greets members of the National Assembly at the start of a session in Havana, December 20, 2014. | Photo: Reuters
HAVANA, Cuba, December 20, 2014 - Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Saturday, that he will attend the Summit of the Americas to be held in Panama , in April, where he would have the opportunity to meet with United States President Barack Obama.

Cuba has not participated in these summits since they were excluded from the Organization of American States in sixty two years ago in 1962.

In an address to the Cuban National Assembly of People´s Power (Parliament) today, President Castro said for the newly re-established relationship between Cuba and the U.S. to work, there would need to be mutual respect.

The U.S. and Cuba moved towards restoring diplomatic ties earlier this week, after U.S. President Barack Obama admitted that his country's half century attempt to defeat Cuba had failed, opening the door to Cuba's participating in the summit.

The Government of Panama had previously stated that it intended to invite Cuba to the summit.

The Cuban President insisted that the communist political system must be respected. "In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours," Castro told Cuba's National Assembly.

Castro also said Cuba faces a "long and difficult struggle" before the United States removes a decades-old economic embargo against the Caribbean island, in part because influential Cuban-American exiles will attempt to "sabotage the process" toward normalization.

The Cuban National Assembly announced on Friday that it would back the agreement of President Raul Castro and U.S to restore diplomatic ties.

Yolanda Ferrer, President of the International Relations Commission of the National Assembly also warmly welcomed the return of three Cuban political prisoners — unjustly held by the United States for more than 15 years.

Last modified onSaturday, 20 December 2014 16:46

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