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    British foreign minister visits Cuba in first such trip since
    AFP | London
    April 29, 2016 Last Updated at 05:22 IST

    Britain’s foreign minister has arrived in Cuba in the first such visit
    since 1959, to hold talks on cooperation in “financial services, energy,
    culture and education”, London announced.

    It follows last month’s landmark visit by President Barack Obama to the
    Caribbean nation as part of a historic rapprochement between Cuba and
    the United States after 50 years of enmity stemming back to the Cold War.

    “As the first British Foreign Secretary to visit Cuba since before the
    Cuban Revolution in 1959, this is an opportunity to hear for myself what
    Cuba thinks about its present challenges and where it sees its future,”
    Philip Hammond said in a statement yesterday.

    He is to hold a series of meetings with his Cuban counterpart Bruno
    Rodriguez and other government leaders, according to Britain’s Foreign
    and Commonwealth Office.

    Hammond is also to sign a “bilateral agreement restructuring Cuba’s debt
    to the UK” and agree on future cooperation in a range of areas from
    financial services to energy and education.

    The foreign minister also hopes to raise the issues of social and
    economic changes in Cuba, human rights, trade, and the response to
    health issues such as the Zika virus.

    “Britain and Cuba have outlooks on the world and systems of government
    that are very different,” Hammond said in a statement.

    “But as Cuba enters a period of significant social and economic change,
    I am looking forward to demonstrating to the Cuban government and people
    that the UK is keen to forge new links across the Atlantic.

    “That is why Cuba and the UK are set to reach new cooperation agreements
    on energy, financial services, education and culture, to the benefit of
    both our nations.”

    Hammond will also meet representatives from Cuban civil society and the
    British business community in Havana, according to the ministry.

    European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini became the
    highest-ranking EU official ever to visit Cuba when she travelled to
    Havana in March.

    During her trip she signed a deal to normalise relations with Cuba,
    including an agreement on the delicate issue of human rights, in yet
    another step towards ending the communist country’s status as a pariah
    in the West.

    Source: British foreign minister visits Cuba in first such trip since |
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