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Obama to Meet Cuba's Raul Castro Tuesday

U.S. President Barack Obama will hold talks with Cuban leader Raul Castro on Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the White House said Sunday.

It will be the second meeting between the two leaders, after a first historic encounter in Panama in April.

Washington and Havana reestablished diplomatic relations in July after more than half a century of enmity.

The Cuban leader, who succeeded his brother Fidel in 2006, will make his first-ever address to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, only several hours after Obama takes the podium.

In an address to a U.N. development summit on Saturday, Castro took aim at the U.S. embargo against Cuba, describing it as the "main obstacle" to his country's economic development.

"Such a policy is rejected by 188 United Nations member-states that demand its removal," he said, referring to a U.N. resolution calling for the end of the decades-old embargo.

The 193-nation assembly has voted each year since 1982 to approve a resolution calling on the United States to lift the embargo against Cuba, which has been in place since 1960.

Castro hailed the re-establishment of relations with Washington as a "major progress," but stressed that the embargo was unfinished business.

"The economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists, as it has been for half a century, bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people," said Castro.

Since the rapprochement with Cuba, the Obama administration has expressed support for lifting the embargo, but the decision rests with Congress, where a Republican majority opposes the move.

The General Assembly is set to discuss a new draft resolution condemning the embargo at a session next month.

Source: Agence France Presse


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