Cuba, Russia reiterate strategic nature of their tiesFebruary 12th, 2010 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS
Havana, Feb 12 (IANS/EFE) Russian and Cuban foreign ministers have emphasised here the “enormous potential” and the “strategic” nature of relations between their two countries.
Sergei Lavrov arrived in Cuba for a three-day visit and presided at a meeting with Bruno Rodriguez, after which they signed three accords.
“Our relations continue to develop very well in all areas, including those of the economy and trade,” said the Russian minister Thursday.
In 2009, bilateral trade between the two nations totalled about $400 million and Moscow granted loans to Cuba for more than $350 million.
Lavrov said that the relationship had transformed itself into a “truly strategic association” and confirmed to the Cuban government Moscow’s “unchanging” stance against the economic embargo the US has maintained against the communist-ruled island since 1962.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez emphasised the “enormous potential in relations between a great and powerful country like Russia and a small island”.
“We will never forget your generous contribution to our development,” said Rodriguez, adding that Cuba “will always remember its fraternal relationship with the Soviet Union” and said he was gratified that the links with Russia are “excellent”.
The former Soviet Union massively subsidised the Cuban economy in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
The foreign ministers signed a Political Consultation Plan for the period 2010-11 and statements regarding the anniversary in May of 50 years of bilateral diplomatic relations as well as the 65th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II.
Lavrov’s trip to Havana continues the frequent visits made by top Russian government officials to Cuba in the last two years, including those by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who has travelled to the island on at least five occasions.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev travelled to Cuba in 2008 and Cuba’s president, Gen. Raul Castro, returned the visit in 2009.
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Tags: 65th anniversary, allied victory, bilateral trade, consultation plan, cuban economy, cuban government, deputy prime minister, dmitri medvedev, economic embargo, foreign ministers, former soviet union, fraternal relationship, frequent visits, generous contribution, political consultation, raul castro, russian government officials, russian minister, sergei lavrov, world war ii