The Vice President of India and the President of Cuba, reiterated their mutual interest in expanding bilateral ties. Photo: Estudio Revolución

Isla de Margarita, Venezuela.— Parallel to the working sessions of the 17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which took place September 13-18, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, held various bilateral meetings, accompanied by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
The excellent relations Cuba maintains with different nations, as well as its support for issues addressed during the Summit and need to strengthen the Movement in the international arena, were once again expressed during the encounters.
Meanwhile, gratitude toward Venezuela for organizing the event and the assurance of a successful term leading the bloc over the next three years, were also reiterated.
All those with whom Raul met sent warm greetings to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz and recognized his contribution to the work of the Movement. On September 18, the Army General received his Excellency, Mohammad Hamid An­sari, vice president of India, who was accompanied by M. I. Askar minister of State for

Army General Raúl Castro and compañero Kim Yong Nam, described the meeting as a demonstration of the historic and fraternal relations of friendship between the two nations. Photo: Estudio Revolución

Foreign Affairs, as well as other delegations members.
Ansari fondly recalled his visit to Cuba in October 2013 and reiterated his country’s interest in continuing to expand bilateral relations, a sentiment shared by Raúl.
Meanwhile, the Cuban leader highlighted the important role India has played in the movement since its founding.
The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers also met with Kim Yong Nam, president of the Supreme People’s Assembly and a member of the Committee of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Workers' Party Central Committee Political Bureau, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
Both leaders described the meeting as indicative of the historic and fraternal relations of friendship maintained by the two nations for over 50 years.
Support for the Palestinian cause was also emphasized during Raúl’s encounter with His Excellency Mah­mud Abbas, president of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority.
The Cuban President expressed the island’s unwavering solidarity with the Arab nation and once again denounced the continued occupation and violence perpetrated against the Palestinian people by Israel; preventing the creation of an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Also participating in the meeting was Ziad Abuamer, deputy minister of the State of Palestine and Riad Al Maliki, minister of Foreign Relations.
The Cuban President thanked his counterparts for their support, expressed both during the Summit and in other international forums, to the struggle against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on the island by the U.S. government for over half a century.

Support for the Palestinian cause was emphasized during the Cuban President’s meeting with Mahmud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine. Photo: Estudio Revolución

Meanwhile, around 50 representatives gave speeches during the closing ceremony of the event, which took place in the Plenary Hall of the Hugo Chávez Frías Convention Center, where the Final Document and Margarita Declaration of the Summit were approved.
Cuba was also recognized during remarks made by representatives of NAM member countries at the Summit closing ceremony, which saw many nations express their longstanding condemnation of the unjust U.S. blockade.
The state ofEritrea in particular reaffirmed its solidarity with the people and government of Cuba and other countries, victims of unilateral sanctions and economic sabotage.
Meanwhile, the Republic of Guinea Bissau demanded that the blockade be lifted, and Timor-Leste highlighted the negative impact of the policy on the island. Expression of support were also made by delegations representing Syria, the Philippines, Belize, the Democratic Republic of Laos, and Cambodia.