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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Cuban leader Castro 'very well'
Fidel Castro seen on a Cuban TV programme in June 2007
Pictures of Fidel Castro were last aired on Cuban TV in June
Cuban leader Fidel Castro is doing "very well" and is determined to fully recover from ill health, Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque has said.

The minister said Mr Castro maintained "permanent" contact with leaders of the Communist party and the government.

His comments come amid growing rumours about the health of Mr Castro, who has not been seen in public since he had intestinal surgery in July 2006.

The illness forced Mr Castro, 81, to hand over power to his brother, Raul.

"Fidel is doing very well," Mr Perez Roque told reporters during his visit to Brazil. The minister added that Mr Castro was "disciplined in his recovery process".

Earlier this month, Mr Castro issued a statement saying he was fighting relentlessly for a full recovery.


Since his emergency surgery, Mr Castro has only been seen in photographs and short video broadcasts on Cuban state television.

In July, Mr Castro did not appear at Cuba's National Revolution Day celebrations - for the first time in 48 years.

Secrecy surrounding his condition has fuelled rumours about the extent of his health problems and his eventual political future.

However, Cuban officials have repeatedly said he will eventually resume office.

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