Castro says Obama misinterpreted remarks

April 22, 2009 at 6:31 PM

HAVANA, April 22 (UPI) -- Longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro said U.S. President Barack Obama misinterpreted an offer from his brother Raul to begin talks between the two nations.

In an editorial published Wednesday in Cuba's state-run media, the former Cuban leader said remarks made by Raul Castro -- who succeeded Fidel in the Cuban presidency last year -- about Cuba's willingness to discuss "everything" including human rights and free elections, were taken out of context.

"When the president of Cuba (Raul Castro) said he was ready to discuss any topic with the U.S. president, he meant he was not afraid of addressing any issue," Castro wrote in the pages of Granma newspaper Wednesday. "That shows his courage and confidence on the principles of the revolution."

At a hemispheric leaders' meeting earlier this week, Obama said Raul Castro's professed willingness to discuss issues relating to U.S.-Cuba relations such as political prisoners and free elections illustrated a "a sign of progress."

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