A growing list of world leaders including French President François Hollande and US President Barack Obama have opted out of attending Sunday’s funeral of former Cuban president Fidel Castro.
French President François Hollande
On Monday, Hollande’s office told AFP that he would not be attending the former Cuban leader's funeral on Sunday. He will be represented by Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal and Jean-Pierre Bel, his personal envoy for Latin America.
On Sunday, the president had renewed calls for the US trade embargo of Cuba to be dropped.
“I want, on the occasion of the death of Fidel Castro, to again insist that the embargo that penalises Cuba should be definitively lifted,” Hollande said during a summit of French-speaking countries in Madagascar. He added that an end to the embargo would allow Cuba to “be fully part of the international community [and] regarded as a partner”.
US President Barack Obama
The White House also announced on Monday that President Obama would not be attending Castro’s funeral.
"The president will not be travelling to attend the funeral of Fidel Castro," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, stopping short of revealing who would lead the US delegation.
Obama has sought to thaw tensions with Cuba, but stopped short of meeting Castro during a landmark trip to Havana earlier this year.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Despite his effusive tribute to Castro in the wake of his death – drawing widespread mockery and criticism – and the fact that the Cuban former leader was an honorary pallbearer at the 2000 funeral of his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not be attending the funeral.
"His schedule doesn't permit it," his spokeswoman Andree-Lyne Halle said in a statement.
Governor General David Johnston, Queen Elizabeth's representative in Canada, will attend the commemorations instead.
British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May has provided no comment on Castro’s death. While neither she nor British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will be attending the funeral, foreign office minister Alan Duncan will be going in their place.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Peskov said Putin had a busy schedule preparing for a major speech.
Vyacheslav Volodin, a close Putin ally and the speaker of the Russian State Duma or lower house of parliament, would head the Russian delegation to the funeral.
Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Féin – the Irish political party long associated with the IRA – has also said he will attend. However, there is no word yet on whether North Korea's Kim Jong Un will travel to Cuba despite the leader of the totalitarian communist nation declaring a three days of mourning in Castro's honour.
Date created : 2016-11-28