The French president spoke for over 40 minutes with the former Cuban leader.
French President Francois Hollande met with Raul Castro and, separately, with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Monday.
Cuban President Raul Castro met with Hollande in the Palace of the Revolution and discussed a series of international affairs as well as strengthening bilateral ties between both nations.
President Francois Hollande met earlier with former president Fidel Castro in Havana. Fidel Castro met President Hollande in his residence in Havana, where they talked for over 40 minutes.
“I had a man that made history in front of me. There are debates about the place he holds (in history), his responsibilities, but coming to Cuba I wanted to meet with Fidel Castro,” said Hollande after the historic meeting.
Before visiting Fidel, the French head of state delivered a speech in the University of Havana, inaugurating a new cultural centre in Havana and participated in an award ceremony for Cardinal Jaime Ortega – head of the Catholic Church – for leading efforts in political dialogue between the government and the opposition.
President Hollande said Monday he would help the Caribbean island in its efforts to reestablish ties with the U.S. and in opening opportunities with new trade partners.
“In France, you will find a loyal ally,” added Hollande.
The French president also expressed his rejection to the U.S. blockade on Cuba during the conference in the University of Havana.
The European president will now attend a ceremony to honor the memory of Cuban hero Jose Marti. Then he will proceed to meet with Cuba’s President Raul Castro.
The French head of state is accompanied on his trip by five ministers and two dozen business people, including the heads of important French corporations. He will be in Cuba for three days.
France has played a leading role in promoting ties between the island and the European Union.
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