Raul Castro jokes about possible resignation

Havana, Feb 23 (IANS/EFE) Cuban President Raul Castro, soon to be confirmed by parliament for a second five-year term, joked Friday about the possibility that he might resign because of being so advanced in years.

“I’m going to resign. I’m going to be 82 years old and I have the right to retire now,” Gen. Castro laughed when asked by reporters about the opening of parliament Sunday.

Then in a more serious tone the president said that he will deliver an “interesting” speech.

Raul Castro is expected to be confirmed for a second five-year term, which will be his last if the Cuban president goes along with his own proposal to limit the country’s political positions, including the presidency, to 10 straight years.

Gen. Castro was formally named president in February 2008, two years after an illness forced his brother Fidel to delegate the position to him in 2006.

During his first term, Raul Castro promoted a plan of economic reforms in the Caribbean country to “modernize” its socialist model.

The Cuban president made his statement at a ceremony with Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, whose visit to the island was marked by the signing of 10 accords to promote bilateral cooperation.

Besides holding talks with the Cuban president, the Russian premier met with Fidel Castro.

–IANS/EFE

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