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Slovakia-Cuba: Normalizing relations and launching cooperation

Slovakia-Cuba: Normalizing relations and launching cooperation

9.10.2015 | Aktivity ministra

Havana (9 October) - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák – as well as Finance Minister Peter Kažimír – is accompanying Prime Minister Robert Fico during the official visit to Cuba. Beginning their program on Thursday (8 October), they met with Cuban Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino. Prime Minister Fico appreciated the Cardinal´s personal - as well as that of the Catholic Church – contribution to positive changes in Cuba. Both agreed that gradual and well-prepared changes within the country´s transformation should be preferred rather than shock therapy. In this context, the Slovak delegation offered authentic positive as well as negative experiences from the Slovak transformation process.

The visit culminated when the Slovak delegation was received by President Raul Castro. He appreciated signing economic agreements between the Slovak Republic and Cuba, which also include settling Cuba’s debt. President Castro showed an interest in the Slovak expertise from the transformation period and confirmed the visit of Cuban Vice President of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas to Slovakia.

Minister Lajčák discussed concrete opportunities of developing cooperation in the new era of the Cuba relations with the USA and EU with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla at a separate meeting.

Before the meeting with President Castro, Prime Minister Fico had signed the agreement on recognizing and settling Cuba’s debt to Slovakia with Vice President Cabrisas, making Slovakia the first Central European region country to have done so. The meeting also saw agreements signed between Cuban energy company Energoimport and Slovak companies SES Tlmace and Eximbanka on carrying out energy projects totaling up to €100 million.

Cuba also presented its ambitions in renewable energy, showing that there is scope for Slovak companies to participate in energy projects in the country. The Cuban hosts also took the Slovak delegation to the Mariel special economic zone, which offers favorable conditions for foreign investors.

The meeting confirmed the economic character of the visit. Vice President Cabrisas also told them about the changes currently going on in Cuba aimed at increasing the country´s openness to the world and the gradual creation of a private sector. The Slovak representatives welcomed these positive changes and expressed their support. Slovak Prime Minister Fico invited Vice President of Cuba Ricardo Cabrisas to come to Slovakia, which he has immediately accepted.