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US: Fidel Castro Needs to Go

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, October 27, 2011.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States' position on Cuba remains that "Castro needs to go."

Clinton spoke at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee where the major topics were Afghanistan and Pakistan. But when questioned on U.S. policy on Cuba, she said the policy has been the same for more than 50 years - that communist leader Fidel Castro should leave office.

"Unfortunately," she added, "he doesn't seem to be going anywhere."

Clinton said the U.S. wants democracy for Cuba. She also said U.S. officials regularly meet with their Cuban counterparts on areas of mutual concern.

In 2006 Fidel Castro formally handed over power to his younger brother Raul, but he remains an influential figure in the communist state.

Since taking office in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama has eased restrictions on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, and on money sent back to Cuba from family members living in the United States. He has said the U.S. will change its policy further if Cuba is ready to reform.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.