Cuba: Raul Castro to attend UN General Assembly

Havana, Sep 17 (IANS/EFE) The Cuban government on Wednesday confirmed the attendance of President Raul Castro at the events surrounding the UN General Assembly in New York, where his US counterpart Barack Obama would also be on hand.

Although no bilateral meeting between the two leaders has yet been scheduled, “there will be interactions” at the world gathering, the government said.

Castro will speak on September 26 at the summit on the post-2015 development agenda and, on September 28, at the General Assembly session, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told reporters.

In addition, Castro will attend the September 25 General Assembly session in which Pope Francis will address world leaders after his visit to Cuba.

During this presence at these events, Castro “will fulfil a broad programme of a multi-lateral nature”, will hold “numerous bilateral meetings” with heads of states and government, and will meet with representatives of assorted sectors of US society, including members of groups expressing solidarity with Cuba and the Cuban exile community.

Castro’s unexpected presence at the UN meetings coincides with the celebrations surrounding the 70th anniversary of the world body, “which must be defended against the attacks, manipulations and attempts to distort its objectives that it is experiencing”, Rodriguez said.

The foreign minister said that the UN needs to undergo a “profound reform” to democratise itself and so that the General Assembly may exercise the authority provided to it by the UN Charter and contain the “interference and voraciousness” of the 15-seat Security Council with its five veto-wielding permanent members: the US, Russia, China, France and Britain.

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