Obama extends 'friendship' to Cuba after death of Fidel Castro

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the United States is extending "a hand of friendship to the Cuban people" as they mourn the death of Fidel Castro.

In a statement, Obama says that in the coming days, Cubans "will recall the past and also look to the future." He says as they do, "the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner" in America.

Obama notes that "discord and profound political disagreements" marked the relationship between the United States and Cuba for nearly six decades, and that he has "worked hard to put the past behind us."