HAVANA – Cuban leader Fidel Castro held a “brotherly” meeting in Havana with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang at the beginning of the latter’s state visit to the communist island.
The two men exchanged views on assorted issues and said that their countries “will prevail in the current common struggle,” according to Cuban state-run television.
“Fidel and Tran agreed that this visit will strengthen even more the historic friendship between our peoples,” said Cuban TV, referring to the statement released after the meeting and including a photograph of the meeting, held a few hours after the Vietnamese president arrived in Havana.
The 90-year-old leader of the Cuban Revolution, who has been retired from the presidency since 2006, recalled his visits to Vietnam as well as earlier meetings with other leaders of the Asian country, and he expressed his admiration for Vietnamese national hero Ho Chi Minh.
Castro and Tran discussed their experiences with economic and social development in their nations amid the dangers facing humanity, including climate change, armed conflict in various places around the globe, the ongoing increase in world population, low oil prices and the challenge of raising food production across the board, Cuban television said.
The Vietnamese leader relayed to Castro an “affectionate greeting from the leadership of the party, the government and the people” of his country and expressed his “great appreciation” for Cuba’s solidarity with Hanoi since the Vietnam War.
Tran also congratulated Castro on the results of the 7th Cuban Communist Party Congress held last April.
On Wednesday, Tran was scheduled to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro and to be awarded the Order of Jose Marti, the most important decoration granted by the Cuban government to foreigners.
In recent months, Fidel Castro has welcomed to his home several foreign leaders who have visited Cuba, including Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Iranian President Hassan Rohani and the prime ministers of Japan and China, Shinzo Abe and Li Keqiang, respectively.
Cuba and Vietnam established diplomatic ties in 1960, a year after the triumph of Castro’s revolution, and since then they have maintained good relations both on the political and economic levels, cooperating in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, construction and education.