Pakistan, Cuba ties based upon mutual respect, friendship: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that Cuba is a long standing partner of Pakistan and the bilateral relations between the two countries are based upon mutual respect and friendship.

“We recognise Cuba as a time tested friend which has stood by us in times of need,” the prime minister said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in connection with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Cuba.

He said that Pakistan would never forget the unprecedented assistance and support provided by the Cuban health professionals in the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake that resulted in loss of thousands of lives and left countless others injured. “During those days of national crisis, the Henry Reeve Brigade led by the deputy foreign minister of Cuba, who now holds the portfolio of the foreign minister of Cuba, stayed in Pakistan for six months,” he said.

The Cuban medical contingent provided treatment to 80,000 patients and conducted 7,000 operations through its 32 field hospitals and two relief camps established in some of the most difficult terrains of the earthquake affected areas.

The prime minister said that Cuba further offered 1,000 fully funded medical scholarships for the Pakistani students belonging to the earthquake affected areas. “The graduates from Cuban medical colleges are now a major asset to our health sector. They are also friendship ambassadors of Cuba in Pakistan,” he said.

He said that such an expression of sincerity, care and friendship towards Pakistan by the Cuban government and its people had few parallels in modern day history. “Pakistan will always remain indebted to this Cuban gesture of support during one of the most challenging phases of our national history,” he said.

He said that as a modest token of gratitude and goodwill towards Cuban friends, he would like to announce on behalf of the government and the People of Pakistan, a gift of 15,000 tonnes of rice to the people of Cuba on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations. He also expressed the hope that in the years ahead, the two countries would continue to work together for a better future of their posterity.

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