Raul Castro says US must give back Guantanamo

United Nations, Sep 29 (IANS) The “long process of normalisation of relations” between Havana and Washington will culminate when the US gives back Guantanamo and pays compensation for the 53-year-old economic embargo, Cuban President Raul Castro has said.

“After 56 years of the Cuban people’s heroic and selfless struggle, diplomatic relations and the embassies in the respective capitals are re-established,” Efe news agency quoted him as saying on Monday.

The plan to restore diplomatic ties was announced in December by Castro and US President Barack Obama and the missions re-opened over the summer.

But normalisation requires an end “to the economic, trade and financial blockade against Cuba,” Castro said after Obama delivered a speech at the same podium in the UN General Assembly.

Havana also requires the return of “the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base” and the payment of compensation for the costs inflicted on Cuba, he said.

As long as the embargo remains in place, Cuba will continue to present each year in the General Assembly a resolution demanding an end to Washington’s economic sanctions against the island, Castro said.

Those resolutions are typically approved by overwhelming majorities.

Obama and Castro are to meet on Tuesday in New York.

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