Cuba wants ‘respectful’ talks with Donald Trump govt: Raul Castro

By: |
Bavaro (dominican Republic) | January 26, 2017 4:20 AM

Cuba is willing to hold "respectful dialogue" with Donald Trump, President Raul Castro has said, following warnings that the new US leader may halt the two countries' rapprochement.

Regional leaders attend a speech of Cuban President Raul Castro during the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit in Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Andres Martinez CasaresRegional leaders attend a speech of Cuban President Raul Castro during the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit in Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Cuba is willing to hold “respectful dialogue” with Donald Trump, President Raul Castro has said, following warnings that the new US leader may halt the two countries’ rapprochement.

“I wish to express Cuba’s desire to continue negotiating on current bilateral issues with the United States on a basis of equality, reciprocity and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country,” Castro said.

He added that he was willing “to pursue respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest with the new government of President Donald Trump.”

Castro, 85, spoke in an address to a summit of the 33-nation Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), meeting in the Dominican Republic.

Trump has said he may end the diplomatic thaw if Cuba does not make more concessions on human rights — an issue on which Havana has refused to be lectured.

The restoration of diplomatic ties by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama and Castro in 2015 was a historic breakthrough in a Cold War dispute dating to the 1950s.

Since Raul Castro took the reins of power from his brother Fidel in 2006, Cuba has gradually opened up its economy and foreign relations. Obama and Castro further eased some economic and trade restrictions, although Washington’s main trade embargo on Cuba remains in place. Fidel Castro died on November 25.

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