Antananarivo: French President Francois Hollande on Saturday reiterated that all the embargoes imposed by the US against Cuba should be lifted.
Following the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Friday at the age of 90, Hollande made these remarks after the opening ceremony of the 16th Francophonie Summit held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Although I often criticised Cuba for its human rights, I always considered the embargoes as an unacceptable unilateral decision,” Hollande told the media.
“History aside, it’s the future that counts,” Hollande said, adding that he wanted to reiterate, after learning about the passing away of Fidel Castro, “the embargoes penalizing Cuba should be lifted, completely lifted”.
He hoped that lifting the embargoes would eventually allow Cuba an opening and a full reintegration into the international community.
“France always sees Cuba as a partner,” Hollande said, explaining that was why he paid a visit last year to that country to “end the cold war which was still ongoing in Cuba”.
Hollande, who paid an official visit to Cuba on May 11 last year, was the first western leader to visit the Communist island nation.
Speaking of Fidel Castro, Hollande said the Cuban revolutionary leader was “a grand personage of the 20th century. He brought up a lot of hopes with the Cuban revolution”.
“He always wanted to, with pride, defend Cuba against external pressure,” he said.
Hollande expressed his condolences to his brother Raul Castro and to the Cuban people.