World / Europe

Hollande's visit to Cuba seeks greater French role

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-12 15:16

Meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro, Hollande stressed the positive state of bilateral relations and the possibilities of expanding the political and economic ties and exchanged views on international issues.

Hollande, traveling with a delegation of French business leaders, said that the two countries would sign a series of agreements on improved access to Latin American markets.

The president also met Fidel Castro, who handed over power to his brother, Raul, in 2006.

Meanwhile, Hollande and Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel were on hand for the signing of four cooperation accords between universities and research institutions of the two countries.

Earlier on Monday, the French president also urged Washington to end an half-century-old trade embargo on Cuba in a speech at the University of Havana before meeting with Fidel and Raul Castro respectively.

He said his country would do whatever possible to see that "the measures that have so badly harmed Cuba's development can finally be lifted, repealed."

The French leader said his country had always opposed the U.S. economic embargo, which has been in force since 1962.

Since 1992, France has voted in favor of lifting the ban at the United Nations.

While claiming that the sanctions have "blocked Cuban development," Hollande expressed his intention to reinforce and boost Paris-Havana relations.

Currently, France is Cuba's 11th biggest trading partner and trade focuses on food and industrial products, tourism, telecommunications and transport.

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