HAVANA (REUTERS) - Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance on Sunday as he took his long-empty seat beside his brother Raul Castro at the opening session of the National Assembly, the official National Information Agency reported.
Mr Fidel Castro has graced the assembly chambers just once, in 2010, since taking ill in 2006 and ceding power to his brother. In that appearance, he delivered a brief speech warning that a US confrontation with Iran could lead to a nuclear holocaust.
A frail and stooped Mr Castro, 86, also appeared in public earlier this month to vote for the National Assembly and chat with Cuban reporters.
The man referred to as the "historic leader of the Revolution" has maintained a public presence through his writings, meetings with important visitors and rare public appearances, but he is no longer seen as wielding real power. Mr Castro has given up all his official positions except his deputy spot.
The 612 deputies, who were elected in an uncontested vote, are expected on Sunday to name a new Council of State with Mr Raul Castro as president, and a new Parliament president to replace a retiring Mr Ricardo Alarcon, who served for 20 years.
The meeting is closed to the foreign press.