Latin America & Caribbean

Raul Castro calls for new Cuba-US relationship

Cuba's President Raul Castro addresses the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption President Castro said Cuba wanted to break with the past and peacefully coexist with the United States

The Cuban President, Raul Castro, has said his country must establish a new kind of relationship with the United States.

In a speech to the National Assembly, Mr Castro said that, for normal relations to resume, a US embargo on Cuba would have to be lifted.

He also called for the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay to be returned to Cuba.

On Monday both countries are set to re-establish diplomatic ties for the first time since 1959.

"We are talking about forging a new kind of relationship between both states, different from our entire common history," President Castro told the Cuban National Assembly.

He acknowledged President Obama's efforts to try to get a debate going on the embargo despite the fact that it was up to the US Congress to vote on the matter.

US officials have said several times that Guantanamo Bay is not on the agenda for discussion with Cuba.

The US and Cuba began secret negotiations on restoring ties two years ago.

This led to a historic announcement on 17 December last year where President Castro and President Obama said they had swapped prisoners and would seek to normalise relations.

On Monday both countries are set to reopen embassies in each other's capitals as a first formal step towards re-establishing relations.

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