President Uhuru Kenyatta was on Thursday formally received in Cuba by President Raul Castro at the Presidential Palace in Havana with full military honours.
Before the State reception, President Kenyatta laid a wreath at the monument of the Cuban national hero “Jose Marti” before being conducted on a tour of the monument.
Thereafter, President Kenyatta and President Castro held one-on-one talks that were followed by a State banquet hosted in honour of the Kenyan leader.
In his remarks during the State banquet, President Kenyatta assured Cuba of Kenya’s commitment to supporting the Caribbean nation at the international front.
The President said Kenya was greatly encouraged by Cuba’s solidarity with the South.
President Kenyatta also appreciated Cuba’s support in ensuring Kenya continued to host the UN offices in Nairobi and in the upgrading of the United National Environment Programme (UNEP) to United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).
“We continue to seek your support in strengthening UNEP through resource enhancement and concentration of the Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) secretariats in Nairobi,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta affirmed Kenya’s commitment to exploiting the Blue Economy, an emerging sectors with enormous potential for economic growth.
He invited Cuba to a High-Level Conference on the Sustainable Blue Economy slated for November this year in Kenya.
“In view of the importance of the water resources to Cuba, I invite the government of Cuba to participate at the highest possible level,” said the President.
He said Kenya and Cuba could also collaborate on issues of Climate Change to mitigate future disasters such as the recent hurricane Irma, which affected Cuba and the Caribbean region.
“I wish to congratulate you for the level of preparedness which enabled Cuba not only to deal with the disaster but also to assist other affected countries,” said President Kenyatta.
He said Kenya was looking forward to working with Cuba on common goals and to furthering the special bond that exists between the two countries.
The Kenyan leader assured President Raul Castro of Kenya’s continued support to the course of developing countries.
“Cuba’s consistent calls for fair trade practices and democratization of international financial institutions and governing bodies, including the UN system only solidifies Cuba’s relations with these countries,” said the President.
“This is in harmony with Kenya’s position on these crucial issues,” he added.
President Kenyatta also spoke on the UN reforms where he asserted Kenya’s support for the reforms, especially in the United Nations Security Council to ensure it is based on the sovereign equality and universality of collective responsibility.
“It is in this regard, that Kenya is bidding for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2021-2022. We count on Cuba’s support,” President Kenyatta told his host.
Earlier on Thursday, President Kenyatta visited Cuba’s leading research and pharmaceutical group, Labiofam, where he was shown how the Caribbean nation has innovated in its fight against tropical diseases both in human and in livestock.
President signalled that he would work closer with Cuba to replicate its success in Kenya.
The Head of State also attended a ceremony of unveiling a bust of Kenya’s founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, at the Park of African Heroes in Havana in recognition of his sterling contribution to liberation movements in Africa and the Caribbean region at large.