Raul Castro meets visiting Salvadoran first lady, FM

11:12, March 14, 2010      

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Cuban leader Raul Castro Saturday met the first lady and foreign minister of El Salvador who were here to open their country's embassy in Havana.

It was the first official visit to Cuba by a Salvadoran foreign minister in more than five decades after the rupture of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Castro talked with First Lady Venda Pignato and Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez about such issues as Latin American and Caribbean unity, climate change and exchange in the field of public health.

"We are very pleased because it was an opportunity for reiterating our intention to strengthen bonds of friendship, respect and cooperation," Martinez told the press after the meeting.

The visiting foreign minister said that the two sides had touched upon the possibility of presidential visits by both countries.

Martinez added that a visit by Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes could take place as soon as the scheduling of a meeting with the Cuban leader can be fixed.

Earlier in the day, Martinez opened the Salvadoran embassy in Havana and signed with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez a principal agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between their two countries.

During Saturday's talks, the first lady discussed with Castro such issues as special caring for the disabled and elderly, according to the foreign minister.

Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto and Trade and Investment Minister Rodrigo Malmierca were present at the signing ceremony.

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