Pope Francis has met Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro as part of his nine-day trip to Cuba and the US.
The Pope called on the 89-year-old former president at his home, a Vatican spokesman said, and gave him several of his official papal writings, as well as two books on spirituality and a book and CD on the writings of Father Armando Llorente, a Jesuit priest who taught Castro in secondary school.
Fidel Castro led the Cuban government from 1959 until he resigned for health reasons, provisionally in 2006 and then definitively in 2008, handing power to his older brother, Raul.
Earlier on Sunday the Pope celebrated Mass in Havana's Revolution Square.
Pontiff's arrival marks start of nine-day tour of Cuba and the US, amid a diplomatic rapprochement that he helped facilitate.Read the full story ›
The US flag has been raised over the American embassy in Cuba for the first time in 54 years.Read the full story ›
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the reopening of the recently restored American Embassy in Havana "is a truly historic moment".
He said: "As we prepare to raise the United States flag here at our embassy in Havana, symbolising the reestablishment of diplomatic relations after 54 years, this is also the first time that a United States Secretary of State has been to Cuba since 1945".
It comes after the two countries formally renewed diplomatic relations and upgraded their diplomatic missions to embassies almost a month ago.
Former president says the country should be compensated for the 50-year trade embargo imposed by America.Read the full story ›
Cuba once again has an embassy in the United States - more than half a century after it was closed.Read the full story ›
Full diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA have been restored although there will be few celebrations on either side.Read the full story ›
The US has formally dropped Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism as the country continues efforts to restore diplomatic ties with the Communist-ruled island.
President Barack Obama had announced on April 14th he would drop the former Cold War rival from the list, initiating a 45-day review period for Congress that expired today.
Obama ordered a review of Cuba's status on the terrorism list as part of a landmark policy shift.
The move followed a meeting in December between the US President and Cuba's leader Raul Castro where they announced they would seek to restore diplomatic relations that Washington severed in 1961, and work toward a broader normalisation of ties.
Cuba had cited its listing as a state terrorism sponsor, which had been in place since 1982, as an obstacle to the re-establishing of diplomatic relations.
The two sides have held four rounds of high level negotiations since December and say they are closing in on a deal to reopen embassies in Havana and Washington.
Pope Francis has met with Cuban President Raul Castro today, ahead of his planned visit to the island nation later this year.
The pope granted Castro a rare Sunday audience at the Vatican as the Cuban President passed through Rome on his way back from Moscow.
Although the issues discussed by the Pope and Castro during their meeting were not disclosed the pontiff could be heard telling his visitor there was a "need to work together to fight poverty around the world" during a subsequent photo call.
Cuba recognised what it called a "fair decision" by US President Barack Obama to inform Congress he intends to remove Cuba from a US list of state sponsors of terrorism.
"The Cuban government recognised the fair decision made by the president of the United States to eliminate Cuba from a list that it never should have been included on, especially considering our country has been the victim of hundreds of acts of terrorism that have cost 3,478 lives and maimed 2,099 citizens," said the statement by Josefina Vidal, the Cuban foreign ministry's chief of US affairs.