The U.S. and Cuban presidents shake hands in a symbolically-charged gesture as they meet in Panama. Paul Chapman reports.
It was just a handshake but, between the presidents of Cuba and the U.S., it was a gesture that crossed decades of hostility. The White House says there was no substantive conversation between them. But Barack Obama and Raul Castro were expected to meet on Saturday. It's the first time a Cuban leader has attended the Summit of the Americas where the warming U.S.-Cuban ties are taking centre stage. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised both leaders at the opening ceremony in Panama. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON SAYING: "I would like to once again commend the leadership of President Obama of the United States and President Castro for initiating normalisation of bilateral relations." Earlier the same day Obama reassured regional leaders the U.S. was no longer interested in imposing its will on Latin America. (SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "The days in which our agenda in this hemisphere so often presumed the United States could meddle with impunity, those days are past." All eyes now are on what happens next between Obama and Castro and their efforts to re-launch U.S.-Cuban ties.