Cuba's Raúl Castro to make first trip to U.S. as president to speak at U.N. gathering

He is the lesser known, more enigmatic of the two Castro brothers who have led Cuba for a combined 56 years.

But later this month, Cuban President Raúl Castro will make his debut on U.S. soil as leader of the island nation when he addresses the United Nations gathering of world leaders, the U.N. indicated Tuesday.

It's not clear what else he has planned, although an official at the Cuban mission to the U.N. confirmed to Fox News that Castro would address the General Assembly the afternoon of Sept. 28 and may address the sustainable development summit two days earlier.

An updated U.N. list of speakers notes that the Cuban head of state will speak at the gathering on Sept. 28, the same day that President Barack Obama is set to speak. Diplomats for the two countries last week formally launched the process of normalizing the U.S.-Cuba relationship, one of the top foreign policy achievements of Obama's presidency.

In April, Obama and Castro sat down together in the first formal meeting of the two country's leaders in a half-century.

Castro took over Cuba's presidency from his brother Fidel, who stepped down in 2008 after decades in power.

A spokesman for Cuba's mission to the U.N. did not comment to the Associated Press Tuesday on Castro's expected visit and only referred to the U.N. list of speakers.

Castro first will play host as Pope Francis visits Cuba from Sept. 19 to 22, ahead of Francis' own first trip to the United States.

More than 160 heads of state and government are set to attend this month's U.N. meeting, including Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are also among the first day's speakers.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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