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  • Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel speaks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit during the 73rd U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., Sept. 24, 2018.

    Cuba's President Miguel Diaz-Canel speaks at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit during the 73rd U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., Sept. 24, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 September 2018
Opinion

Cuban President Diaz-Canel strengthens relations with Ecuador and Iran in NY meeting with their heads of state to discuss bilateral accords while at U.N. session.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with his Ecuadorean and Iranian counterparts on Monday after speaking for the first time at a United Nations event. His meetings with Ecuador’s head of state, Lenin Moreno and Iranian leader, Hassan Rouhani are part of Diaz-Canel’s list of bilateral side meetings at the week-long 73rd U.N. session in New York.

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Havana and Quito have developed closer ties since the Rafael Correa administrations (2008-17), creating reciprocal health and education social programs in both countries.

Cuba and Iran have strengthened their political and diplomatic cooperation since last year when U.S. President Donald Trump heightened hostilities against Iran.

Trump’s rollbacks include continuing the economic blockade on Cuba, tightening business restrictions on Havana, and removing U.S. diplomats from the Caribbean island.

Iran’s president reiterated his commitment to building relations with Cuba and recognizing the island’s political sovereignty.

Also on Monday, the Cuban president made his first speech to the U.N. during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. Diaz-Canel will address the general assembly on Wednesday where he says he will denounce the 55-year-old U.S. economic blockade on his nation. Wednesday also marks the 58th anniversary of Fidel Castro's visit to the New York headquarters.

The Cuban head of state is expected to talk with the U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres and meet with dignitaries from around the world. A part of the president’s agenda will be filled with meetings with U.S. business leaders and Cubans living in the United States.

Last week the head of state met with U.S. Republican Senator Bob Corker who visited Cuba in order to strengthen diplomatic relations. Corker is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
 

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