Cuba, Spain to strengthen political, economic ties with new agreements

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-23 12:27:03|Editor: Li Xia
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HAVANA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Thursday pledged to strengthen political dialogue and mutual cooperation in areas such as politics, trade, culture and science as a way to expand links between the two countries.

"Diaz-Canel and Sanchez expressed interest in expanding links in areas like trade, culture and scientific collaboration," according to an official Cuban government statement released after Diaz-Canel met with Sanchez at Havana's Revolution Palace for private talks.

Both leaders reviewed cooperation in different sectors between the two countries, and discussed bilateral ties and other regional and international issues, the statement said.

After the meeting, Sanchez and Diaz-Canel witnessed the signing of two agreements which seek to expand political and cultural ties.

One agreement establishes bilateral political consultations on a wide range of topics, including human rights, and the other agreement was in the culture sector to establish a legal framework for cooperation.

Sanchez's trip is the first by a Spanish prime minister in 32 years, a sign that Madrid is willing to expand its cooperation with Cuba, which is also reaching out to European countries.

Sanchez's trip focused on promoting economic cooperation with the Caribbean nation and maintaining the island's strong commercial partnership with Spain.

Spain's trade with Cuba totalled 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. Over 100 Spanish companies already have presence in Cuba, especially in the tourism sector.

On Friday, Sanchez is expected to meet with Spanish businessmen in Cuba, participate in a Cuba-Spain business forum, among others.

Cuba was a former Spanish colony. Its tension with Spain grew when a "common position" was adopted in 1996 by the European Union (EU), which sought to make Havana adopt a Western democracy system to unlock financial aid and promote commerce.

After over two decades of political distance, the EU and Cuba signed in November 2017 an agreement for political dialogue and cooperation which boosted economic ties between Havana and EU countries.