HAVANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has arrived in Cuba for his first official visit to the Caribbean island, a trip that will include a meeting Saturday afternoon with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro aimed at strengthening bilateral ties in the political, economic and cultural spheres.
Nazarbayev was received upon his arrival Saturday at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport by Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra, who welcomed the president and the Kazakh delegation that included Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov.
Prior to his meeting with Castro, who will receive him at the Palace of the Revolution, the seat of the Cuban government, Nazarbayev will pay tribute to Cuban independence hero Jose Marti – a tradition for visiting heads of state and other dignitaries – at a memorial dedicated to his memory in Havana’s emblematic Plaza de la Revolucion.
As part of the official visit, Idrissov and Cuba’s interim foreign minister, Marcelino Medina, will hold a meeting at the Cuban Foreign Ministry’s headquarters.
In addition, the two nations are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation in the areas of labor, employment and social protection.
The official biography published Friday in Cuban Communist Party daily Granma states that Nazarbayev has actively participated in politics since the 1980s, during the time of the former Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, noting that he rose to become First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
He has been president of that Central Asian country since 1990, having been re-elected on four occasions.
Nazarbayev is the supreme commander-in-chief of the Kazakh armed forces, chairman of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, leader of the ruling Nur Otan party and president of the Kazakh Security Council.
In 2014, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the areas of education, science and sports.
In December 2015, Cuba and Kazakhstan signed a visa-exemption accord for short visits, an agreement aimed at boosting bilateral tourist flows and economic relations.