CUBA: Castro denounces Trump's policy

CUBA: Castro denounces Trump's policy

Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday said that Donald Trump's hardline stance towards the country marks "a setback" in relations with the United States after ties were gradually restored in 2015.

The White House noted that the United States retained the embargo imposed on Cuba and opposed the appeals of the United Nations and other international organizations to abolish it.

"The announcements made by the current president (...) mean a setback in the bilateral relations", said Mr. Castro at the closing session of the Parliament of cuba, broadcast with a delay by the television official.

Foreign media does not have access to the twice-yearly meetings of the national assembly.

Cuban leader Raul Castro criticized the new policy of US President Donald Trump, which excludes the possibility of continuing a bilateral dialogue or the implementation of the previously signed agreements, but noted that Cuba nevertheless wishes to engage in dialogue with the United States. In reality, he left in place many of Obama's changes, including the reopened US embassy in Havana.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's crude and fuel deliveries to Cuba slid almost 13% in the first half this year, according to documents from state-run oil company PDVSA viewed by Reuters.

Trump ordered new limits on U.S. travelers to the island and a clampdown on U.S. business dealings with Cuba's military-linked conglomerate, but called for maintaining diplomatic relations with the Cuban government.

Castro has seven months to go before he steps down as president, although he will remain head of the Communist Party, in which political power is vested in Cuba. He also accused the president of ignoring popular opinion in the U.S. and pandering to a small number of people.

Castro said Cuba remained open to negotiating matters of bilateral interest with the United States, sticking to the relatively conciliatory tone it has struck of late.

"Cuba will not make concessions concerning to its sovereignty and independence, nor negotiate its principles", Castro added. The decrease was the first reported by Cuba in years.