President Raul Castro is expected to address the annual United
Nationsgathering of world leaders later this
month for the first time, the U.N. indicated Tuesday. This also would be
Castro's first trip to the United States as president, though it's not clear
what else he has planned.
An updated U.N. list of speakers notes that the Cuban
head of state will speak at the gathering on Sept. 28, the same day that
President Barack Obama is set to speak. Diplomats for the two countries last
week formally launched the process of normalizing the U.S.-Cuba relationship,
one of the top foreign policy achievements of Obama's presidency.
In April, Obama and Castro sat down together in the first
formal meeting of the two country's leaders in a half-century.
A spokesman for Cuba's mission to the U.N. did not
comment Tuesday on Castro's expected visit and only referred to the U.N. list of
Castro first will play host as Pope Francis visits Cuba
from Sept. 19-22, ahead of Francis' own first trip to the United States.
More than 160 heads of state and government are set to
attend this month's U.N. meeting, including Chinese President Xi Jinping for
the first time. Russian President Vladimir
Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are also among the first day's