The first official meeting between Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama has been “productive”, according to Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, who addressed reporters shortly after the landmark talks.
Rodriguez highlighted that both presidents agreed on the need to re-establish diplomatic relations to begin the process of normalizing bilateral ties.
He said Cuban President Raul Castro considers as positive Obama’s will to move forward in a number of areas impacting diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Among these issues, Rodriguez mentioned the need for the U.S. to lift its economic blockade of Cuba.
Rodriguez explained that it was particularly important that Obama admitted on Dec. 17, 2014 that the U.S. blockade had inflicted great damage to Cuba and its population. In his State of the Union address Obama had proposed the complete lifting of the blockade.
Among other highlights of the meeting was Obama’s vow to re-examine Cuba’s inclusion in the U.S. State Department’s list of countries that sponsor terrorism.
The president of Cuba considers this step as vital, the foreign minister explained.
Rodriguez added that both presidents agreed that there are common interests in many areas, such as confronting drug trafficking, cyber security, protection of the environment and health, including the prevention and fighting of pandemics, such as Ebola in Africa and to avoid them from reaching the region.
The presidents also emphasized the need to continue working and advance the reestablishment of diplomatic relations, and to coordinate a date for corresponding announcements, the Cuban diplomat added.