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British foreign minister visits Cuba in first such trip since 1959
[LONDON] Britain's foreign minister arrived in Cuba on Thursday in the first such visit since 1959, to hold talks on cooperation in "financial services, energy, culture and education", London announced.
"As the first British Foreign Secretary to visit Cuba since before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, this is an opportunity to hear for myself what Cuba thinks about its present challenges and where it sees its future," Philip Hammond said in a statement.
It follows a historic visit by US President Barack Obama to Cuba that marked a watershed in the thorny relationship between the decades-long Cold War foes.
Mr Hammond would hold a series of meetings with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez and other government leaders, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.
The minister would also sign a "bilateral agreement restructuring Cuba's debt to the UK" during his visit and agree on future cooperation in a range of areas from financial services to energy and education.
He will also meet representatives from Cuban civil society and the British business community in Havana, according to the ministry.
"Britain and Cuba have outlooks on the world and systems of government that are very different," Mr Hammond said in a statement.
"But as Cuba enters a period of significant social and economic change, I am looking forward to demonstrating to the Cuban government and people that the UK is keen to forge new links across the Atlantic."