04/11/2015 20:03 EDT | Updated 06/11/2015 01:12 EDT

Harper meets with Castro at Americas summit

PANAMA CITY - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he met with Cuba's president at the Summit of the Americas.Harper says he had a long and detailed discussion with Raul Castro late Saturday afternoon at the summit in Panama City.He told reporters later that he thinks the time has come for a different approach to relations with the communist regime.Harper has been critical of Cuba's communist government in the past and he originally opposed allowing Castro a seat at the summit.He has also been a vocal critic of communism and has been critical of Cuba's human rights record.Harper says he has become convinced based on his understanding of what’s happening on the ground in Cuba that engagement is more likely to lead to results than continued isolation.He also noted how Canada helped facilitated an agreement between the U.S. and Cuba to work toward normalizing relations.Harper's meeting was over overshadowed by the Cuban leader's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, the first formal, face-to-face talks between leaders of the two countries in more than half a century.