Havana, Cuba, Oct 1.- Cuban President Raul Castro presented the President of Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, with the José Martí Order.
While stating the reasons why the visiting head of state was granted the island’s top decoration, the Secretary of the Council of State, Homero Acosta, during the ceremony held on Wednesday at Havana’s Revolution Palace, highlighted the African leader’s significant contribution to the consolidation of relations between the two countries and its expansion to new sectors.
He underlined his efforts in the materialization of the idea of Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro of creating an eye center, the first of its kind in the continent, which aspires to become a reference institution for West Africa.
The visiting head of state underscored that the José Martí Order, bestowed upon him, honors the people of Mali, which sees in it a testimony of friendship, love and respect on the part of the Cuban people and leaders.
For almost 50 years now, Cuba and Mali have had close links of confidence, based on values the two countries share, and on a common will of building together two nations in solidarity, he affirmed.
Amadou Toumani Touré presented the Cuban president with the Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali, his country’s top distinction. After expressing his appreciation for the acknowledgement, the island’s head of state made reference to Africa’s essential contribution to the formation of Cuban nationality.
We receive this top distinction on behalf of the Africans and African descendants who fought for Cuban independence, of internationalist combatants, of the thousands of Cubans now offering their voluntary services in African nations like Mali, in the fields of health and education among other sectors, he pointed out.
He added that upon receiving the Order, he ratified the commitment of strengthening bilateral relations even more.
Also present in the ceremony were, for Mali, Moctar Ouane, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and for Cuba, Esteban Lazo, Vice-president of the Council of State, and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, among other officials. (ACN)