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  • Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a ceremony at the Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, October 3, 2019.

    Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel and Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a ceremony at the Revolution Palace in Havana, Cuba, October 3, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 October 2019

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will travel Sunday to Ireland, then Belarus, Russia and Azerbaijan to take part in the 18th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel will begin an official tour on Sunday that will take him to Ireland, Belarus, Russia and Azerbaijan, where he will attend the XVIII summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) from Oct. 25 until Oct. 26.

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During his 10-day tour, Díaz-Canel will talk with with the leaders of each of these nations and "carry out other activities," reports a brief statement from the Cuban Foreign Ministry, which does not detail the head of state’s agenda. 

This is the second time that the Cuban president, who has just returned from Mexico on a brief official visit, will travel to Europe since he took office in April 2018.However, this is Castro's first stop in Ireland, Belarus and Azerbaijan. This will be the president’s second trip to Russia, where he traveled to at the end of last year, just a few months after coming to power, indicating the island's interest in strengthening relations with Moscow.

The relations between Cuba and Russia have intensified at the same time that the Donald Trump administration has reversed the diplomatic "thaw" promoted by former United States President Barack Obama. Over the past several months the Trump government has hardened sanctions on Habana, restricted travel there by U.S. citizens and, for the first time since it was passed in the 1990s, enforced Title III of the Helms-Burton Act that allows U.S. residents to sue foreign companies using Revolution-confiscated properties in Cuba.

Díaz-Canel announced his intention to return to Russia on Oct. 3 when Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev visited Habana.

This is the Cuban leader’s first NAM summit as president of the nation.

The organization was officially established in 1961 during the the middle of the Cold War as the colonial system was being dismantled in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. At that time “its actions … constituted a key factor in the processes of decolonization,” says NAM. Over the past nearly 60 years, the movement “has played an important role in the strengthening of international peace and security.” Cuba was the only country in the Latin American to participate in its first summit, which took place in the former Yugoslavia.

Since then, the Caribbean nation presided over the NAM from 1979 until 1983, and from 2006 to 2009, and has held two summits. 

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