President Obama Meeting With Cuban Leader Raul Castro

The president honored Jose Marti before sitting down with Castro.

ByABC News
March 21, 2016, 1:07 PM

— -- President Obama is in bilateral talks with Cuban leader Raul Castro, following an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Havana this morning.

The president’s full day of events in Cuba marks the first time a sitting U.S. president has visited the island nation since Calvin Coolidge arrived by boat 88 years ago.

The president arrived at the palace on foot, walking over from the Jose Marti memorial following the wreath-laying ceremony at the site honoring the Cuban independence hero.

In greeting Castro, Obama complimented the president on the tour and dinner he and his family enjoyed in Havana Sunday evening, according to the print pool reporter traveling with the president.

"We had a great tour yesterday," Mr. Obama said. "Enjoyed it."

"And we had a great dinner," he added, according to the pool reporter.

After exchanging pleasantries, Obama and Castro stood side by side as the Cuban and U.S. anthems were played by a military band. The pair then walked down a long row of Cuban military troops dressed in ceremonial garb and greeted the delegations joining the respective presidents in the bilateral talks now underway.

In the afternoon, Obama will take part in an event focused on entrepreneurship and business opportunity in Cuba. The president will be joined by several U.S. CEOs and business leaders who also made the trip to Cuba.

The president will cap his day with a state dinner at the presidential palace.

The president arrived in Cuba Sunday, joined by his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law.

Obama and Castro have met on two previous occasions: They first shook hands last April at a summit meeting in Panama before meeting again on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.