GENEVA, December 17 /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Wednesday that Russia was positive about Washington’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.
“We have always favored normalization of the U.S.-Cuban relations. Russia has traditionally and consistently called for lifting the embargo on Cuba from high rostrums. This policy/ of sanctions and embargoes/ has outlived itself and needs to be cancelled,” Ryabkov went on to say.
He added that Moscow knew that a group of Cuban internationalists had been charged under far-fetched pretexts and convicted to long prison terms.
“If Washington implements the announced measures, it will contribute to general improvement of the situation around Cuba,” Ryabkov said adding it would be a positive sign for Russia.
“We have no doubt that the only way acceptable to all countries of Latin America and the Western Hemisphere is to develop normal, healthy and pragmatic relations with Cuba in all spheres - be it economy, human contacts or tourist exchanges. That is why we are looking positively at today’s announcement by the U.S. side,” the Russian deputy foreign minister said in conclusion.
Earlier on Wednesday, Cuba released U.S. citizen Alan Gross who had served a prison sentence in Cuba on spying charges since 2009 and a Cuban who spent 20 years in prison for cooperation with the U.S. intelligence. The latter was exchanged for three Cubans who were serving prison sentences in the United States.
Shortly after that, U.S. President Barack Obama issued an instruction to revise Cuba’s status as a state sponsoring terrorism.
Cuban President Raul Castro, in turn, said that Cuba would restore diplomatic relations with the United States.