Cuba is willing to grant asylum to Peruvian rebels holding 72 hostages at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima, Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina Gonzalez reaffirmed April 17 in Tokyo.

Robaina told Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto that Cuba has decided to accept the rebels on humanitarian grounds but that agreement among all the parties concerned is necessary for them to be granted asylum, according to Foreign Ministry officials. Robaina made the same remark at separate meetings with Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda and State Foreign Secretary Masahiko Komura earlier in the day, the ministry officials said.

Hashimoto expressed appreciation for Cuba’s offer, they added. Cuban President Fidel Castro accepted Tokyo’s request to take in the rebels in late March when Komura visited Cuba as Hashimoto’s special envoy. Robaina told Hashimoto that he hopes the standoff will end as soon as possible, adding that Cuba will cooperate fully to bring about a peaceful solution. Robaina gave Hashimoto a letter from Castro, according to the ministry officials. However, they declined to reveal its contents.

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