German FM has Cuba sitdown with Raul Castro

17th July 2015, Comments 0 comments

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met in Havana on Friday with Cuba's President Raul Castro, on a visit meant to pave the way for better diplomatic and trade ties.

The daily Granma reported that the two leaders had a "cordial" meeting on the second and final day of the German diplomat's stay in Cuba -- the first visit by a German foreign minister to the communist-ruled island nation since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

Among the items on their agenda were improving bilateral commercial and economic ties, Granma wrote.

Steinmeier kicked off his visit Thursday by signing a series of political and economic agreements, and meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez.

He also met with Havana Archbishop Jaime Ortega and toured parts of Havana's historic old city.

Cuba and Germany over the years have remained trade partners despite strained political relations, with bilateral trade totaling $425 million in 2013, according to the latest available data.

Germany sent 124,000 visitors to Cuba in 2014 -- fewer only than Canada and Britain.

© 2015 AFP

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