HAVANA.- António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), will arrive in Havana this afternoon for his first official visit to Cuba, where he will participate in the 37th session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The agenda of Guterres, the ninth Secretary General of the United Nations, includes a tour of Old Havana and a reception at the highest level by the authorities of the Cuban State.

Cuba is an active member of the United Nations and founder of the organization in 1945, which supports the Secretary-General's efforts to promote and protect multilateralism and preserve international peace and security.

According to the Cuban Foreign Ministry, the Caribbean nation shares Guterres' vision of confronting climate change, nuclear disarmament and the right to development of all peoples and respect for human dignity.

It is clear that Cuba's relations with the UN and the Secretary General have developed in a fraternal, friendly and cooperative atmosphere.

Cuba also considers the priorities of António Guterres to be relevant for the work of the organization in 2018, among which are multilateralism, full respect for the Charter of the United Nations and the necessary balance that must exist between its three pillars: peace and security, development and human rights.

This is Guterres' first visit as UN Secretary General; however, he had already visited Havana in 1999, when he was the Prime Minister of Portugal (1995-2002), to attend the IX Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, which took place in the Cuban capital in November of that year.

Cuba and the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, have made important contributions to the United Nations in the defense of social justice, environmental protection, sustainable development, the fight against hunger and malnutrition, peace and nuclear disarmament, as well as the rights to health and education.

The collaboration of this international organization with Cuba dates back to the 1950s, a decade in which the first United Nations agencies began to formalize their presence in the country and to offer their support, particularly in the sectors of health, culture, education and agricultural development.

Cuba has also always been among the first to offer its cooperation to countries affected by natural disasters, in response to the call of the United Nations, such as the earthquakes in Pakistan, Haiti and Mexico, as well as the hurricanes in the Caribbean and Central America and the Tsunami that affected many Asian countries, including Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

However, it will not be the first time that a senior UN representative will be received, as Bam Ki-moon travelled to Havana in June 2016 to participate in the signing ceremony of the Peace Accords between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP, on which he highlighted the role the island
played in the peace process.

In January 2014 Ki-moon also arrived in Cuba with the main objective of taking part in the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

António Guterres will deliver the opening speech of the ECLAC meeting, which will run through May 11 at the Havana Convention Centre and will also feature the words of Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC's Executive Secretary.

Luis Videgaray, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, the country that currently holds the presidency of the Commission, will also be present, as well as the Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), June Soomer.