KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia The Cuban Ambassador to Malaysia, Ibete Fernandez Hernandez hopes that bilateral relations between Havana and Kuala Lumpur can grow stronger under Malaysian Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Hernandez said the bilateral relations were stronger especially during Dr Mahathir’s 22-year tenure as the prime minister, but there was not much progress in the last ten years.

Dr Mahathir’s visits to Cuba in 1997 and 2000 was testimony to the stronger ties the two countries enjoyed at that time.

Cuban former president the late Fidel Castro visited Malaysia in 2001 and 2003, while another former president Raul Castro visited Malaysia in 2005 when he was the first deputy president of the Caribbean country.

Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi visited Cuba in 2004 and 2006.

We hope that both countries (bilateral ties) can grow further during his (Dr Mahathir’s) time and later on. We look forward to identify areas in which we can work together, she said at a press conference at her residence, here yesterday.

Hernandez paid a courtesy call on Dr Mahathir on June 13 in Putrajaya after the seventh prime minister was sworn in following Pakatan Harapan’s historic win in the 14th general election.

“It was a normal courtesy call. It was very nice meeting (him) and I was very happy because he remember me, I visited him first in 2016 after my arrival to Malaysia,she said about the 45 minutes meeting.

“It was a good meeting, and I appreciated that he is committed to address the bilateral relations. It is something that we(Cuba) are looking forward to.”

Hernandez said she mentioned about the interest that Cuba has in bringing the relationship to the period when Dr Mahathir was the fourth prime minister.

“He (Dr Mahathir) said he will worked on it and he will do so much as possible,she said.

She said they discussed trade between the two countries, which is conducted through third countries and not directly, and thus need to find ways in which Malaysia and Cuba could have a normal trade relationship.

“He (Dr Mahathir) said well why not we bring business delegation from Malaysia to Cuba (to explore business opportunity),” she added.

Havana and Kuala Lumpur established ties in 1975, at the time of the Cold War ideological divide, and since then have moved forward to enjoy increasingly fruitful and meaningful relations in many areas, such as economics, politics, trade, education, sports and people-to-people relations, especially during Dr Mahathir’s first term in office (1981-2003). NNN-BERNAMA

Source: NAM News Network

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