February 6th, 2009 - 2:10 p.m.
LUANDA (AFP) — Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos called on the United States to lift its 47-year trade embargo on Cuba, during an official visit by the island's leader Raul Castro, state media said Friday.
"It doesn't make sense to maintain an embargo against Cuba. For nearly half a century, it has affected the lives of millions of people, constituting a flagrant violation of human rights," he said during a state dinner Thursday for Castro, according to the state news agency Angop.
"I sincerely hope that the new US President (Barack Obama), who is very sensitive to humanitarian issues, will order an end to the economic embargo against Cuba," he added.
The United States imposed an embargo in 1962 and toughened its measures five years ago. Cuba estimates that the embargo has cost the island 93 billion dollars.
Latin American countries also urged Obama to lift the embargo at a summit in December.
Obama said during his campaign that the embargo against Cuba had not helped bring democracy to the Caribbean island, and said he supported easing certain provisions to make it easier for exiles in the United States to send money home or to visit their families.
Castro arrived here late Wednesday after an eight-day trip to Russia, bringing a large delegation on a mission to reinforce relations established in 1976, just after Angola's independence from Portugal.
Castro, who took over for his ailing brother Fidel nearly three years ago, held talks with Dos Santos early Thursday and then attended a special session of the National Assembly.
On Friday, Castro toured a "special economic zone" about 30 kilometres (20 miles) outside Luanda, where dozens of industrial and commercial business have set up.
Later he was set to meet with the Cuban community in Angola, according to Angop.
Angola, Cuba sign cooperation agreements