Spanish foreign minister visits Cuba

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HAVANA: Spain’s foreign minister was in Cuba on Saturday for a bilateral visit that comes two months after the European Union and the communist-run country signed a deal to normalize relations.

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Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo landed in the capital Havana late Friday, telling reporters upon arrival that the March agreement, the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations, “makes us very happy.”

The official Cubadebate website said the visit — Garcia-Margallo’s second in a year and a half — was intended to review the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Spain is one of the leading investors in Cuba, particularly in the tourism sector, and is also ranked as the island’s third-largest trading partner after Venezuela and China.

On Monday, Garcia-Margallo will place flowers at a memorial to Jose Marti, a leading figure in Cuba’s battle for independence from Spain, according to an official itinerary provided by the Cuban foreign ministry.

He will also meet with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, it said.

The top Spanish diplomat arrived in the Cuban capital after visiting Ecuador, where he toured areas devastated by a powerful earthquake last month.

Garcia-Margallo previously visited Cuba in November 2014. AFP

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