In 14 years as President, the habitually inscrutable Mr Mitterrand has overseen a fairly friendly policy towards Cuba, calling the 32-year US embargo "stupid".
"I remember intervening with the last few presidents of the United States to tell them to lift this stupid embargo which no longer signifies anything and which oppresses an often unfortunate people," he said in January.
As Mr Mitterrand serves out the last months of his presidency and his life draws to an end because of cancer, he and the beleaguered Mr Castro should have much to talk about. And as they sit down to lunch, President Bill Clinton, breakfasting 3,000 miles away, will be thinking about lifting some of the US sanctions against Cuba.
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