Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cuban Leader Visits Namibia

Cuban leader visits Namibia


WINDHOEK. Cuban leader Raul Castro on Sunday arrived in Namibia on a state visit to strengthen ties with the southern African country, the government said.

"Your visit provides a valuable opportunity to further consolidate the excellent bilateral relations and the longstanding bonds of friendship and solidarity that exists between our two countries," Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba told Castro.

According to Pohamba, Namibia wants to increase co-operation with Cuba in infrastructure development, agriculture, fishing and the health sector.

Castro will on Monday meet former president Sam Nujoma, before flying to Angola for a two-day visit.

Ties between Namibia and Cuba started during pre-independence days, when Cuban troops stationed in neighbouring Angola helped Namibia’s liberation army to fight against apartheid South Africa’s troops in southern Angola, in the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1988.

"We will never forget the proud years in the trenches in Angolan soil and the sacrifices Namibians, Cubans and Angolans made to liberate southern Africa from apartheid South African rule," said Castro.

Since Namibia’s independence in 1990, the two countries have signed several bilateral agreements in the health sector, sport and culture, and education.

Cuba has been providing continuous support to Namibia’s health service, with over 140 Cuban health professionals working in Namibia and 130 Namibians studying in Cuba.

The 77-year-old Castro has led Cuba since illness forced his brother Fidel to step down in 2006.

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