Russian Foreign Minister Arrives in Cuba Today

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in Cuba today.

Here's the statement released by Russia's Foreign Ministry:

On Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s upcoming visit to Cuba

On March 24, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will go to Cuba. The visit will be held ahead of the 55th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Russia and Cuba on May 8 this year.

During their talks, Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez of Cuba will discuss a wide range of current international and regional issues and bilateral relations, including trade and economic cooperation.
Cooperation with Cuba, Russia’s long standing and reliable partner in the Latin American region, is based on the Declaration on Principles of Mutual Relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cuba signed in Havana in 1996 and the Memorandum on Principles of Strategic Cooperation signed in Moscow in 2009.

Russia and Cuba maintain regular political dialogue at the high and summit levels. Russian presidents have visited Cuba three times: in 2000 on an official visit and in 2008 and in July 2014 on work-related visits. The President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Raúl Castro, visited Russia in 2009 on an official visit and in 2012 on a work-related visit.

In February 2013, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made a visit to Cuba.

Since 1996, Russian and Cuban foreign ministers have made 12 mutual visits. In May 2013, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez of Cuba made an official visit to Russia. Sergey Lavrov visited Havana in April 2014. The foreign ministers of Russia and Cuba regularly meet on the sidelines of UN General Assembly sessions and other international events. Their latest meeting was at the 28th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 2, 2015.

Under the 1993 Protocol, the Russian and Cuban foreign ministries hold regular political consultations on international, regional and bilateral issues. In 2013, they signed a plan of consultations for 2014-2016, under which they have held two rounds of political consultations in 2015 at the level of deputy foreign ministers, which were attended by deputy foreign ministers of Russia Vasily Nebenzya and Mikhail Bogdanov.

Close or matching positions on the main regional and international issues and strict compliance with the standards and principles of international law, primarily the UN Charter, and commitment to strengthening the central role of the UN and its Security Council provide a solid foundation for the deepening of Russian-Cuban cooperation on the international stage.

Cuba traditionally supports Russian priorities within the framework of the UN General Assembly. Havana voted against the UNGA resolution titled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine,” which was adopted on March 27, 2014, and co-authored a resolution on the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which was adopted at Russia’s initiative at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. The 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War will be festively marked in Cuba, where May 9 is an official holiday.

Work is underway to improve the contractual framework of Russian-Cuban relations.

Apart from political cooperation, the upcoming talks in Havana will also focus on ways to promote bilateral trade and economic ties. An important issue concerns preparations for the 13th meeting of the Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic and Science and Technology Cooperation in Kazan on April 22, which will be a format to discuss increasing bilateral trade and the diversification of bilateral cooperation. To achieve this goal, the sides are considering projects in power generating, industrial and transport infrastructure, biotechnology, civil aviation, space exploration, healthcare and other sectors. Russia and Cuba continue to develop cooperation in education. Russia has approved the allocation of 100 scholarships for Cuban students at Russian universities in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Russia welcomes the nascent normalisation of Cuban-American relations. The practical steps taken by the United States and Cuba to normalise bilateral dialogue meet the interests of both countries and promote international security.

Russia has always advocated lifting the US trade and economic blockade of Cuba.

At the upcoming Russian-Cuban talks in Havana, the foreign ministers will discuss the implementation of the agreements reached by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the President of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Raúl Castro, in July 2014 in Moscow, and the coordination of the countries’ approaches to key current issues.