(Reuters) - Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Monday appeared to lend his support to Cuba's talks with the United States with a statement that addressed his longtime adversary for the first time since Cuba and the United States announced on Dec. 17 they would restore diplomatic ties.

"Any peaceful or negotiated solution to the problems between the United States and the peoples or any people of Latin America that doesn't imply force or the use of force should be treated in accordance with international norms and principles," he said in a statement. "We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all the peoples of the world, among them our political adversaries."