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Last Updated: Sunday, 31 December 2006, 01:38 GMT
Castro issues New Year's message
Image of President Fidel Castro on Cuban TV (28 October 2006)
Castro seemed frail during his last TV appearance in October
In his New Year message, ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro has said he is recovering slowly from his surgery.

"Concerning my recovery I always said it would be a long process," he said in the written message, read out by announcers on state-controlled media.

"But it is far from being a lost battle," he added.

The 80-year-old leader handed over control of the country to his brother Raul in July, when he underwent urgent intestinal surgery.

President Castro traditionally sends a message broadcast by state TV and radio to Cubans on New Year's Eve to mark the anniversary of the 1 January 1959 revolution that brought him to power.

"I have not stopped being in the loop on main events and information.

"I have had exchanges with our closest comrades always when co-operation has been necessary on vitally important issues," the statement read.

The president also thanked the Cuban people for their courage during his recuperation.

Speculation about President Castro's medical condition has been rife.

Although Mr Castro's health is a state secret, Cuban officials have said that he is not suffering from cancer or any terminal illness, and that he is recuperating.

Cuban TV broadcasts Fidel Castro's message

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