HAVANA, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has described the longstanding political and diplomatic relations between Mozambique and Cuba as excellent but insists that it was now time to advance in economic co-operation.

Speaking in Havana at a meeting with members of African diplomatic missions stationed in the Cuban capital on Saturday, he added: Our great objective is to strengthen and re-affirm our relations of friendship and cooperation.”

Historically, Cuba and Mozambique have been linked at very difficult moments, moments of liberation,” he added, noting that when Mozambique achieved its independence in 1975, after a ten-year war of liberation against Portuguese colonial rule, it faced a critical shortage of skilled staff as Portuguese settlers fled en masse, leaving a void in many professions.

Under these difficult circumstances, Cuba stepped in, responding to a request from Mozambique’s first President, Samora Machel, and provided the training Mozambicans needed to fill the places left by the fleeing Portuguese.

In order to value and capitalize on this relationship, the President argued, the two countries should advance to more visible economic co-operation, so that always united, we can struggle for prosperity and development.

Meanwhile, Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi says Mozambique regards Cuba as a country which set an example by transforming difficulties into opportunities.

At a media conference summarizing President Nyusi’s three-day visit to Cuba here Sunday, Baloi said the president had been impressed with the way Cuba had managed to overcome the adversities it faced.

This is a good example for Mozambique, of how to transform these difficulties into opportunities. Difficulties don’t exist for us to lament them � they exist to challenge us, so that we can overcome them, he added.