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Cuba opens embassy in Islamabad

Cuba evinced interest in establishing formal ties with Pakistan following last year's devastating earthquake.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 18:43 IST

Cuba has opened its embassy here, establishing the diplomatic relations with Pakistan for the first time.

Cuba evinced interest in establishing formal ties with Pakistan following last year's devastating earthquake when teams of Cuban Doctors helped treat Pakistani quake victims.

It was due to the arrival of doctors and para-medical staff and their sincere, dedicated and untiring service in the quake-hit areas that helped to save many lives, the state-run APP news agency reported .

Deputy Foreign Minister of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, visited Pakistan during the relief operation last year to supervise the Cuban Medical Relief Mission in earthquake-affected areas.

Cuba established 32 field hospitals and two relief camps in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), staffed by more than 2,400 doctors, para-medics and physiotherapists following the October 8 quake.

The coordinator of the Cuban relief team in Pakistan, Ambassador Ivan Mora Godoy and Cuba's first ambassador to Pakistan Gustavo Machin Gomez also supervised the relief operation. 

The students hailing from the earthquake-affected areas and the low-income families would be allocated special quota, after the approval of competent authorities.

The scholarships would be for six years and during the first year, the selected candidates would learn Spanish language while staying in Cuba and the next five years would be to study medicine to graduate in General Comprehensive Medicine.

The government of Cuba has also handed over a state-of-the-art hospital equipment to the officials of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education to set up a centre.

Cuban Medical Brigade in Pakistan ended its mission in May in the quake-affected areas after attending thousands of patients, of whom 49.1 per cent were women, the agency reported.