Raul Castro, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers, will pay an official visit to Vietnam from July 8 and 9.

This is the first visit to Vietnam by Raul Castro in his capacity as the leader of the Cuban Party, State and Government.

The visit takes place in the context of important developments in the two countries’ relationship, reflected in the outcomes of the official visit to Cuba by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, in April this year.

The visit aims to implement contents in the joint statement issued during Trong’s visit and discuss measures to promote and enhance comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.

Since establishing the diplomatic ties in December, 1960, Vietnam and Cuba have maintained and developed their relationship, consistent with the aspirations and revolutionary faith of the two Parties, States and peoples.

The Vietnamese people always keep in their mind that Cuba was the vanguard nation in the world people’s movement to support Vietnam ’s struggle for independence, freedom and reunification in the past. At present, the Cuban people continue to promote comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam in areas of construction, transport, bio-technology, education, health, sports and agriculture.

The countries maintain regular exchange of delegations at all levels and the mechanism on annual meetings of the Inter-governmental Committee, increasing comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and peoples.

Both sides reached high consensus on further enhancement of fraternal solidarity, friendship and cooperation and improvement of the ties’ effectiveness in line with each country’s strength and potential.

The Vietnamese Government shipped 400,000 tonnes of rice in 2010 and 300,000 tonnes in 2011 to Cuba , helping ease the island country’s food difficulties.

The two countries are implementing a number of joint project, such as a project on development of rice production on a household scale (third phase), another on cooperation in corn and soybean production, and a programme on Vietnamese-Cuban cooperation on rice production in Cuba during the 2010-2015 with Vietnam’s total contribution being more than 43 million USD.

Vietnam continues carrying out oil and gas cooperation projects signed with Cuba in 2007 and promoting investment projects in construction of infrastructure for tourism, telecommunications, education and training in Cuba.-VNA