Former Cuban president Fidel Castro publicly gave his blessing to historic negotiations between his nation and the United States Monday, but warned Washington isn't to be trusted.
“We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world, among them our political adversaries,” said Fidel Castro in a statement published by Cuban newspaper Granma.
“Any peaceful or negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America that doesn't imply force or the use of force should be treated in accordance with international norms and principles,” he said.
However, Fidel Castro conceded, “I don't trust the policy of the United States nor have I had an exchange with them.”
“But, this does not mean ... a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or the dangers of war,” he explained.
The first round of negotiations between Havana and Washington wrapped up last week. The talks are aimed at reviving bilateral ties after decades of U.S. attempts to overthrow the government in Havana.
Along with the U.S. blockade and controversial listing of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, other issues discussed in the meeting included immigration reform and plans to trade embassies.
The administration of President Barack Obama has already announced plans to loosen trade and investment restrictions, along with easing a long-standing travel ban.
Both sides reported some progress in last week's talks, but said there is still more work to be done.
A Cuban official that spoke ahead of the negotiations explained the first round of talks wouldn’t “normalize” bilateral relations.
“Cuba is re-establishing diplomatic relations with the U.S. The process of normalization is much longer and deeper,” the official stated.
The U.S. blockade of Cuba must be totally dismantled before relations can be completely normalized, the official said.