Positive results achieved in IAEA technical cooperation projects and Cuba’s commitment to cooperation with other countries in the region in the peaceful use of nuclear technologies were the main topics discussed during IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano’s visit to Cuba on Friday.
“The concrete results that Cuba has achieved in joint projects with the IAEA are commendable,” Mr Amano told President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Minister of Science, Technology and Environment Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya.
President Díaz-Canel said that “the relation between the IAEA and Cuba is excellent” and reaffirmed Cuba’s readiness and willingness to continue the close cooperation with the IAEA. He recognized the Agency’s support in the use of nuclear technology and capacity building. The President also underscored the importance of the IAEA’s support in assisting Cuba in the application of new nuclear techniques in health care, particularly in combating cancer, which is one of the leading causes of mortality in the country.
Mr Amano emphasized that the use of nuclear medicine imaging can help in the diagnosis not only of cancer but also of cardiovascular and neurological diseases. He highlighted the progress made in the use of the cyclotron facility, supported by the IAEA, in Havana’s CIMEQ Hospital. During his visit to the hospital, Mr Amano was briefed on the progress of the facility in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases. He expressed the commitment of the IAEA to continue to support the country’s cancer control programme.
Other topics discussed included the support provided to Cuba by the IAEA in food irradiation and in combatting mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, with the use of the sterile insect technique (SIT), an environmentally friendly technology that uses irradiation to control insects.
Mr Amano expressed his appreciation for Cuba’s support to the IAEA’s regional cooperation programme through capacity building and participation in expert missions to other countries, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean.
President Díaz-Canel reaffirmed Cuba’s willingness to continue providing support and technical assistance to countries in the Caribbean and beyond.
The President underlined Cuba’s commitment to further contribute to projects under the Regional Cooperation Agreement for the Promotion of Nuclear Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean (ARCAL), whose presidency the country is assuming on 20 May in an event marking the 35th anniversary of the Agreement. Mr Amano is scheduled to speak at the event.