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Italy-Cuba – Gentiloni meets with President Raul Castro in Havana

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni, currently on a mission to Cuba, met with President Raul Castro who “expressed great friendship toward Italy and satisfaction with bilateral relations”. Gentiloni announced his invitation to President Castro to visit Italy, the occasion for which could be the Italy-Latin America Conference in June, or the day dedicated to Cuba during EXPO Milano 2015, 26 July.

Helping ease tensions

This mission by Gentiloni, the first by a European minister to visit the island since the start of the thaw with Washington, is Italy’s contribution to “opening up as much as possible the process of easing tensions with the United State and the EU”.

Meeting with the Cuban foreign minister

“We are confident that the process of normalisation between Cuba and the United States will go forward”, Gentiloni said in a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez Parilla. Also scheduled to meet with the Cuban trade minister, Gentiloni expressed the hope that the reforms under way in Cuba would lead to increased economic cooperation with Italy (SMEs, cooperatives, tourism and renewable energy).