France’s top diplomat meets with Raúl Castro (+Video)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Havana from Mexico City on Saturday (April 12) for a one-day visit, during which he met with Cuban President Raúl Castro, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, and French businessmen operating on the island.

MINREX photo shows (from left) Jean Mendelson, French ambassador to Cuba; French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and Her Excellency Mme. Maryse Bossière, Director for the Americas and the Caribbean at the French Foreign Ministry.
MINREX photo shows (from left) Jean Mendelson, French ambassador to Cuba; French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, and Her Excellency Mme. Maryse Bossière, Director for the Americas and the Caribbean at the French Foreign Ministry.

Before returning to France at nightfall, Fabius said that he discussed politics, human rights, market-oriented reforms and bilateral relations in “a long conversation” with Castro. According to the Prensa Latina news agency, their meeting was “fraternal and both parties discussed topics of common interest in the international agenda.”

One such topic was the United States’ trade embargo, which Fabius described as “unjustifiable,” Prensa Latina reported.

At an evening press conference in the French Embassy, Fabius said that France and Cuba “want to advance relations in the areas of culture, education, economics and politics. Naturally, we have different points of view on some issues, but that doesn’t stop us from exchanging perspectives and moving forward.”

“France wants to reinforce its ties with the whole of South America, and in this framework we particularly wish to develop them with Cuba,” Fabius said after his arrival. In an allusion to the European Union, he added, “and so does Europe.”

[For background on Fabius’ visit, click here.]

fabius-laurent and-bruno12aprilMINREX’s OFFICIAL ACCOUNT OF TALKS WITH FABIUS 

[Text of communiqué issued by the Cuban Foreign Ministry on Saturday (April 12) in Havana. Translation by Progreso Weekly.]

The Minister of Foreign Relations of Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, held on the morning of this Saturday 12 April official talks with His Excellency M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of the Republic of France, at the Foreign Ministry building.

During the exchange, both ministers reviewed the progress of bilateral relations and expressed a common willingness to move forward in the deepening of cultural, academic, scientific and economic-commercial ties.

Both parties coincided on the importance of the process of negotiation toward an accord on Political Dialogue and Cooperation between the European Union and Cuba. Also broached were issues of common interest on the international scene.

The visitor was accompanied by His Excellency M. Jean Mendelson, ambassador of the French Republic in Cuba, and Her Excellency Mme. Maryse Bossiére, Director for the Americas and the Caribbean at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, among other personalities.

Participating on the Cuban side were comrades Gerardo Peñalver Portal, Director General of Bilateral Affairs; Pedro Núñez Mosquera, Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Law, Elio Rodríguez Perdomo, Director for Europe and Canada, and other Foreign Ministry officials.

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