HAVANA, CUBA.-(ACN) Cuban President Raul Castro bestowed on Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang the Jose Marti Order, the top distinction granted by the Cuban Council of State, during a ceremony Wednesday at Havana´s Revolution Palace.

Upon receiving the top distinction, the Vietnamese President said he dedicated the medal to Vietnam´s Communist Party and people. He also expressed his gratitude to Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro and President Raul Castro as well as to the Cuban people for their support of his country´s independence struggle and for their contribution to the construction and defense of Vietnam.

President Tran recalled the close ties of friendship that Cuba and Vietnam have shared for over half a century thanks to leaders Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro and he stressed the solidarity and cooperation still uniting the two nations.

The Jose Marti Medal was established in 1972 for Cuban and foreign citizens and heads of state and government to acknowledge their actions in favor of peace and humanity, to extraordinary contributions to education, culture, science and sports and also to outstanding merits in creative work.

The Vietnamese President arrived Tuesday in Havana in an official visit aimed at further deepening relations of friendship and cooperation with Cuba and thus open a new chapter in the development of more solid and efficient bilateral relations.

This has been the first official visit by Dai Quang to Cuba since he took office in April this year.