Addis Abeba.— Salvador Valdés Mesa, a vice president of Cuba's Council of State, arrived in Ethiopia January 26, where he will participate as a special guest to the Twenty-Eighth Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union (AU), to be held January 30–31.
Prior to the event, Valdés is making an official visit to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, during which he will hold meetings with leaders of the African nation in order to strengthen the historic ties with Cuba.
On arrival at the Addis Abeba Bole International Airport, the Cuban official was received by the Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, Erastus J. O. Mwencha, and Education Minister Shiferawu Telkemarian, on behalf of the Ethiopian government. The Cuban Ambassador to Ethiopia, Juan Manuel Rodríguez, was also present.
Valdés, who will speak before delegates to this high-level event as a special guest, is heading a delegation which includes Gerardo Peñalver, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba; Ángel Villa, director of the Ministry’s Sub-Saharan Africa Department; and Brigadier General Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba.
Valdés will inaugurate a photographic exhibition on the life of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, which chronologically depicts some of the main meetings between the Caribbean leader and African statesmen.
As part of his intense work schedule, the Cuban official will also meet with several dignitaries attending the event.
During his stay in Addis Abeba, the member of the Communist Party of Cuba Political Bureau will meet with representatives of the island’s medical collaborators working here, Cubans residing in the city, and a group of Ethiopians who studied in Cuba.
To date, the island has participated as an observer nation to both the AU Foreign Ministers’ meetings and the Presidential Summits since it was first invited to attend the Organization of African Unity (OAU – predecessor to the AU) Summit held in Lomé, Togo, in 2000.
In September 2007, Alpha Oumar Konaré, then chairperson of the AU Commission, visited Havana, where both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure greater fluidity in bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation in several areas.
Since 2010, the AU has approved seven consecutive resolutions rejecting the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, imposed in 1962 and still in force today.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, made an official visit to Havana in October 2015, during which she held a fraternal meeting with President Raúl Castro Ruz, and undertook a broad program of activities which concluded with the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Cuba.