HAVANA : Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that his govt will continue to invest in Cuba and contribute to the economic development of the island nation. Speaking at the opening ceremony of a business forum, the Spanish leader said Spain will not slow down its investment in Cuba despite the economic challenges facing the Caribbean country. Sanchez was accompanied by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Noting that Spain is Cuba’s third largest trading partner, Sanchez said that past obstacles and current difficulties are not going to prevent the growth of trade and investment between the two countries. Spanish companies can lend their expertise in areas such as renewable energy, transport and infrastructure, and they could play a key role in Cuba’s economic takeoff, he said. Sanchez’s trip is the first by a Spanish prime minister in 32 years. The two-day business meeting brings together almost 300 Spanish entrepreneurs from around 100 companies to explore new areas of cooperation with their Cuban counterparts.

Cuban Vice President of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas said current Cuba-Spain relations are at a “very positive moment” witnessing political and economic dialogues at its highest level in decades.

“This important visit by the Spanish prime minister after more than 32 years marks a new stage and relaunches our ties in different sectors, including economic and commercial cooperation,” he added.

On Friday, Sanchez also toured Old Havana, along with the city’s historian Eusebio Leal, where he appreciated the work to restore Spanish-era colonial buildings and houses.

During his stay in Cuba, the Spanish head of government will also host a meeting with Cuban intellectuals, artists, entrepreneurs, religious and civil society members.