French President Francois Hollande met with Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro on Monday in Havana.
Hollande is the first European leader to visit the island since the US and Cuba announced the start of diplomatic relations in December 2014 and first French leader to visit the Caribbean country since 1898.
“I had in front of me a man who had made history,” Hollande said after meeting the leader of Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
During his visit the French leader urged for the lifting of the sanctions on Cuba.
“The opening is confirmed, so that the measures that have so harmed the development of Cuba can be rescinded, so that the identity of each country is respected, this is what has to be done,” Holland said speaking at the University of Havana.
The US has been imposing an embargo on Cuba since the revolution and that the European Union (EU) has been doing that since 2003, however the measures started to be loosened since the announcement of rapprochement with the US.
Hollande has been aiming to improve diplomatic and economic relations between France and Cuba.
Many French companies including Soufflet, Air France, Orange, Accor and Pernod Ricard are accompanying him during the visit.
Hours after Holland’s speech, French oil company Total signed an agreement to explore for offshore oil with Cuban state oil monopoly CubaPetroleo (Cupet), according to Cuban state TV.
France and Cuba already have bilateral trade that is currently worth $388M, mostly from Cuban imports of French goods and services.