Obama Castro Mandela memorial
US president Barack Obama greets Cuban president Raul Castro before giving his speech, as their Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, looks onReuters

Cuban President Raul Castro has asked the United States to hand back to Cuba the control of the Guantanamo Bay for improving ties between the two countries.

In a speech at the summit of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Costa Rica, President Castro also asked US to lift the trade embargo and removal from the US terror list.

"The re-establishment of diplomatic relations is the start of a process of normalising bilateral relations," he said according to the Associated Press. "But this will not be possible while the blockade still exists, while they don't give back the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base."

Last month the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties that were severed in 1961. Earlier last week, a Congressional delegation arrived in Havana to start negotiations to reopen embassies in the two countries' capitals.

In 1903, the Guantanamo Bay military base land was leased to the US government in 1903 by the then-Cuban rulers. 

Castro also demanded that the US should stop anti-Castro radio and television broadcasts and should deliver "just compensation" to the people of the country for the human and economic losses suffered by the country due to bans imposed by United States.

"Everything appears to indicate that the aim is to foment an artificial political opposition via economic, political and communicational means," he said, according to Reuters. "If these problems are not resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement between Cuba and the United States would be meaningless."

US are officials is yet to respond to the demands.

The US embargo on Cuba has been one of the longest ever witnessed in modern history. Since 1960 shortly after Cuban rebels led by Raul's brother Fidel Castro overthrew a US-backed regime led by Fulgencio Batista, the complete embargo on the country has completely crippled the economy of the country.

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