Cuban President Raul Castro has warned US President Donald Trump to respect his country’s sovereignty while voicing hopes over the continuation of normalizing ties with the United States.
While still campaigning, Trump had said he may end the still fragile detente between the two countries unless a “better” agreement could be reached between the former cold war enemies.
In Cuba’s first remarks since the new US president took office last week, Castro said on Wednesday that his country is prepared to engage in "respectful dialogue" with Trump.
"I wish to express Cuba's desire to continue negotiating on current bilateral issues with the United States on a basis of equality, reciprocity and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country," he said.
"But it should not hope that to achieve this Cuba will make concessions inherent to its independence and sovereignty," he added while addressing a summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in the Dominican Republic.
The United States broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1961 and placed an official embargo against the country in 1962.
The two countries became ideological foes soon after the 1959 revolution in Cuba, which brought Fidel Castro to power, and their ties remained hostile even after the end of the Cold War.
Washington and Havana, however, restored diplomatic relations after 18 months of secret talks that led to a joint announcement on December 17, 2014.