Prime Minister To Pay Official Visit To Cuba

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Prime Minister David Thompson will make an official visit to the Republic of Cuba from May 11 to 13.

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He will be accompanied by Senator Maxine McClean and other Government officials. A private sector mission is also expected to accompany the delegation.

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During the official visit, the Prime Minister is expected to have bilateral meetings with President Castro; visit Barbadian students pursuing studies at Cuban Universities; meet with representatives of the Barbadian Association and visit new projects underway in Cuba.

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The two countries will also sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba and a Sports Cooperation Agreement.

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Barbados established diplomatic relations with Cuba on December 8, 1972 and the two countries have maintained a cordial relationship characterised by co-operation and a mutual respect for the principles of ideological pluralism and sovereignty.

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Barbados and Cuba signed a co-operation agreement in 1997 which established a Joint Commission for Economic and Technical Co-operation. The Commission meets on an annual basis and the sixth meeting of the Commission is scheduled for May 14 to 16, 2009 in Cuba, following the conclusion of the official visit. Cuba has provided extensive technical assistance to Barbados, particularly in the areas of education, sports, culture and youth development. These include the medical scholarship programme, the provision of Cuban coaches and Operacion Milagro, Cuba???s programme for the provision of free ophthalmological surgery.

Barbados has offered assistance with the teaching of road tennis and cricket in Cuban Schools.

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