British FM visits Cuba after 1959

London, April 29 (IANS) Philip Hammond arrived in Cuba becoming the first British foreign secretary to visit Cuba since before the communist revolution of 1959.

Arriving in Havana on Thursday, Hammond said that Britain was keen to forge “new links” with the Caribbean nation, The Guardian reported.

His visit follows US president Barack Obama’s historic trip last month intended to normalise relations between the two countries after decades of hostility.

Hammond will hold meetings to discuss recent social and economic changes, human rights and the fight against global health threats such as the Zika virus.

He will also sign a bilateral agreement restructuring Cuba’s debt to Britain, as well as agreeing future cooperation on financial services, energy, culture and education.

“Britain and Cuba have outlooks on the world and systems of government that are very different,” Hammond said.

“But as Cuba enters a period of significant social and economic change, I am looking forward to demonstrating to the Cuban government and people that the United Kingdom is keen to forge new links across the Atlantic.”

“As the first British foreign secretary to visit Cuba since before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, this is an opportunity to hear for myself what Cuba thinks about its present challenges and where it sees its future,” Hammond added.



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