POLITICS

Cuban President Raúl Castro says U.S. and Cuba need to deal with each other in 'civilized manner'

Cuba's President Raul Castro in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

Cuba's President Raul Castro in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014.

Cuban President Raul Castro said in a nationally broadcast speech that he welcomes the restoration of relations with the United States.

He said differences remain between Cuba and the U.S. in areas such as human rights, foreign policy and questions of sovereignty, but he says the countries have to learn to live with their differences "in a civilized manner."

“While recognizing that we have deep differences, fundamentally in terms of national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy, I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue about all these issues,” Castro said, reading from a prepared text in Spanish.

Castro’s brother, Fidel, the architect of the revolution who nurtured adversarial relations between the two nations, appeared to have known role in the recent talks and made no speech on Tuesday. White House officials said Fidel had no official role in negotiations.

But his brother said it was a position the former leader had long wanted.

“It is a position that was expressed to the U.S. government both publicly and privately by comrade Fidel at different times of our long struggle, with the approach of resolving our differences in the negotiations without renouncing to our sovereignty.”

Castro, 83, said the “dialogue” took an important turn on Tuesday, when he reportedly held a 45-minute telephone conversation with President Obama. He thanked the Vatican, Pope Francis and the Canadian government for facilitating the negotiations.

The Cuban leader then called on President Obama to use his executive power to “remove the obstacles” that restrict the ties between the two countries and address the issues related to travel, direct postal service and telecommunication.

“Even though the embargo measures have become law, the president of the United States can modify its implementation using his executive power,” he said.

He added that the progress made in the negotiations so far show that a solution to decades-old standoff is possible.

“We have to learn the art of living with our differences in a civilized manner,” he said.

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