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MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. The normalization of Washington's relations with Havana will not affect Russia's cooperation with Cuba, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
"We see nothing bad in this," the minister told a news conference in comments to the high-level Cuba-US talks in Havana that began on Wednesday in an effort to restore diplomatic ties which broke off in 1961.
"On the contrary, this is useful for Cuban people and will by no means affect friendly relations between Russia and Cuba."
"This has already been stated by Cuban leaders at all levels and we feel this in our daily contacts," Lavrov said.
Lavrov said however Moscow hopes the move comes as the US is pursuing both its own interests and those of its partners and not because of a wish to “do a bad turn to someone.”
“We have repeatedly said that the policy of isolating Cuba like any other state is senseless and counterproductive and does not meet the interests of those who conduct it,” he said.
Lavrov stressed that “this was done on a parity basis and the Cuban side has not given up its priorities.” “This is a mutually beneficial and mutually acceptable process,” he said.
The historic meeting on Wednesday is set to focus on drafting a “roadmap” on normalising ties and opening embassies. However, the US embargo introduced for Cuba in 1962 will remain in force as it can be only lifted by the US Congress.
US President Barack Obama on December 17 ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba. The US leader admitted that the sanctions against Cuba, which Washington imposed more than 50 years ago, did not bring about the desired impact.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry said Obama’s announcement is “a step in a right direction” although the issue of lifting Washington’s “economic, trade and financial blockade” remains unsolved.