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Lavrov on writing off Cuba debt: "Far from everything can be measured in banknotes"

August 27, 2014, 19:32 UTC+3 SELIGER
"The settling of the Cuban debt problem expands Cuba’s opportunities to make borrowings on the money markets abroad," the Russian foreign minister noted
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SELIGER, August 27, 19:08 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov has commented on Moscow’s stance regarding the write-offs of overdue debts of other nations including Cuba and on a general rationality of such actions on the part of Russian government.

Cuba’s inability to pay the debt off was quite obvious, he said answering a question from a participant in the Seliger’2014 youth forum.

“Far from everything can be measured in banknotes,” Lavrov said. “But you spoke about the three qualities of our people - patience, ability to help others and ability to forgive - and this was exactly the situation around the Cuban debt. We kept patience for a long time, then we wished to help and eventually we pardoned it.”

“Still I assure you that the part of the debt, which we didn’t write off, and that’s around $ 3.5 billion, will be reinvested in Cuban economy with the participation of Russian companies,” Lavrov said.

“We realize full well the whole specificity of the relationship between the USSR and Cuba and the U.S. dollar versus the ruble exchange rate was rather conventional in those years - it was 60 Soviet kopecks to the dollar,” he said. “But in the final run everyone could see very obviously that Cuba was unable to pay on its debt and we devised a formula that would alleviate Cuba’s budgetary problems.”

“The settling of the Cuban debt problem expands Cuba’s opportunities to make borrowings on the money markets abroad, as the (outstanding) indebtedness restricted it heavily and the remaining part of the debt won’t be used for fantasies either,” Lavrov said. “This investment will be made in Cuban economy, benefiting our companies and the Cubans themselves likewise.”

“There’ll be mutual benefit and no one would’ve gotten anything if we went on being patient,” he said.

Both sides got a tangible result when the willingness to help and forgive, as well as to understand and forgive raised the upper hand, Lavrov added.

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