German Foreign Minister to visit Cuba

 Germany`s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Cuba for two days from Thursday, Berlin said, following the historic thaw between the communist island-nation and the United States.

Berlin: Germany`s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Cuba for two days from Thursday, Berlin said, following the historic thaw between the communist island-nation and the United States.

Steinmeier will be the first foreign minister of reunified Germany to visit Havana. During the Cold War, the Caribbean nation only had contacts with the former communist East Germany, and no West German foreign minister ever visited.

Germany`s top envoy was looking forward to the "extraordinary" trip, which had been twice delayed, his spokesman said. Steinmeier is set to meet his counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, other ministers and the head of the Catholic Church in Cuba, Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

"We want to help shape the very careful and very cautious opening we are seeing in Cuba by intensifying our bilateral relations with Cuba and expanding our partnership politically, economically and culturally," said the spokesman, Martin Schaefer.

US President Barack Obama on July 1 announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba, describing the rapprochement after half a century of enmity between the Cold War foes as a "historic step forward".