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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Fetes Castro

PARIS () -- A helmeted honor guard greeted Cuban President Fidel Castro at the presidential palace in Paris on Monday on a visit marking a diplomatic breakthrough for one of the world's last communist leaders.

It was the first time Castro had been received as a guest of one of the major Western powers of the Cold War era. He visited Spain in 1984 and 1992.

Officially, Castro's three-day visit comes at the invitation of UNESCO, and is not classified as a state visit. But he had talks and luncheon with President Francois Mitterrand on Monday and his itinerary includes meetings with many powerful.

Mitterrand was expected to use the visit to encourage overtures by Castro that might ease Cuba's international isolation.