9 September 1998
Muhammad Ali wants to meet Fidel Castro in Cuba


                  HAVANA, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Boxing hero Muhammad Ali, in Cuba on a
                  humanitarian mission, wants to meet another 20th Century legend -- Fidel

                  The three-times former heavyweight champion said Wednesday he would
                  like to see Castro, a heavyweight of world communism, during his three-day
                  trip to the Caribbean island.

                  "Yes, sure, if he's in the country," Ali, 56, told reporters when asked if he
                  was seeking a meeting with Castro, who normally invites well-known visitors
                  for a tete-a-tete in his Revolution Palace.

                  Ali has already fulfilled one wish, of meeting up again with his friend and
                  Cuban boxing hero Teofilo Stevenson, who greeted him at Havana's
                  international airport late Tuesday.

                  "I am very happy to see him again," Ali said in comments barely audible
                  because of the effects of his Parkinson's Disease. Stevenson said he too was
                  delighted to see his "brother" again.

                  Ali was on his second visit in two years to Cuba, where he will deliver
                  Friday to a Havana hospital a donation of more than $1.2 million of medical
                  aid from a U.S. humanitarian organisation, the Disarm Education Fund.

                  He was also scheduled to visit various other medical facilities in Havana, and
                  hold a series of meetings with Cuba's cultural, political and sports leaders.

                  The U.S. boxing hero, who began his career as Cassius Clay but later
                  changed his name, also visited Cuba in 1996 to hand over another donation
                  of medical aid worth $500,000.

                  The education fund's executive director, Bob Schwartz, said the medical aid
                  was a way of opposing the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba and easing its
                  economic crisis.

                  Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited.