News / Europe

    Hollande Calls for Cuba Sanctions to be Lifted as Castro Visits

    Cuban President Raul Castro, left, and French President Francois Hollande raise a glass during a state diner at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Cuban President Raul Castro, left, and French President Francois Hollande raise a glass during a state diner at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France, Feb. 1, 2016.
    Lisa Bryant

    French President Francois Hollande, at a news conference Monday with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro, said it is time to open a new page in relations with Cuba — not only when it comes to France, but when it comes to the world.

    It is essential the U.S. embargo against Havana is lifted so Cuba can take its full place in the international community, Hollande said. He added that President Barack Obama had taken many steps in this direction, and it now was time to follow through completely, thereby ending "a vestige of the Cold War."

    Hollande vowed he would do everything he could to ensure normalized ties between the European Union and Cuba.

    Washington announced a normalization of relations with Cuba at the end of 2014, but the United States maintains an economic embargo.

    Mutual praise

    Castro — whose trip marks the first visit to France by a Cuban leader in more than two decades — is getting the red-carpet treatment in Paris.

    Hollande hugged him when they met Monday at the Elysee Presidential Palace, and he later hosted a state dinner for the Cuban leader.

    Last May, Hollande became the first French leader to visit Cuba in half a century.

    Castro saluted France as Cuba's biggest creditor for playing a key role last December in lightening his country's international debt.

    Priorities

    Trade and investment top the agenda of Castro's visit.

    French businesses are eyeing opportunities in sectors such as tourism, transport and energy; and the two sides signed a dozen commercial agreements Monday. Hollande also announced a fund to accelerate French investment in the country.

    Castro's trip is the second recent groundbreaking visit of a controversial world leader. Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Paris.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    February 01, 2016 9:54 PM
    Hollande lives in some kind of delusional world. The chances that the US Congress which controls the embargo will ease up on Cuba is zero. Recognition of a Palestinian State would be of no value to the Palestinians and could backfire. Hollande admitted at the time of the Charlie Ebdo attacks that if France's approximately 750,000 Jews fled France for Israel when Netanyahu invited them, it would be a disaster for France. France has many problems that are not discussed much in the public press. Sarkozy said upon taking office that France was broke. Nothing that happened since has changed that.
    In Response

    by: Hung Manh from: Vietnam
    February 02, 2016 3:26 AM
    Stupid sanctions must be lifted and those who supported those sanctions must be lifted from power too because they have become good_for_nothing people.

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