Published On: Mon, Feb 22nd, 2016

Cuba government welcomes US president’s historic visit

josefina_vidal12HAVANA, Cuba - The director general of the United States office of the Cuban ministry of foreign affairs, Josefina Vidal, said US President Barak Obama will be welcomed by the government and people of Cuba, with their characteristic hospitality, during his planned visit to Cuba on March 21 and 22.

“It will be an opportunity for President Obama to appreciate Cuban reality and continue holding exchanges on the possibilities of expanding bilateral dialogue and cooperation on issues of mutual interest to both countries,” she said, adding that this visit will be another step towards improving relations between Cuba and the United States.

“Of course,” Vidal continued, “to achieve the normalization of bilateral relations, key outstanding issues, including the lifting of the embargo and the return to Cuba of the territory occupied by the naval base in Guantanamo, would need to be resolved.”

The visit of the US head of state, she said, will also be an opportunity to ratify the willingness of the Cuban government to continue making progress in building a new relationship, based on the observance of the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter and the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, and based on respect for differences and on the mutual benefits derived from the historic, cultural and family ties that have united the two countries and peoples.

josh-earnestOn Thursday, White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, confirmed that President Obama and the First Lady will travel to Cuba on March 21 and 22, the first visit to the Caribbean island by a sitting US president in nearly 90 years

“In Cuba, the president will work to build on the progress we have made toward normalization of relations with Cuba – advancing commercial and people-to-people ties that can improve the well-being of the Cuban people, and expressing our support for human rights,” he said.

In addition to holding a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro, Obama will engage with members of civil society, entrepreneurs and Cubans from different walks of life.

“This historic visit … is another demonstration of the president's commitment to chart a new course for US-Cuban relations and connect US and Cuban citizens through expanded travel, commerce, and access to information,” Earnest added.

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