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MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. Nascent process of normalization of relations between the US and Cuba will not affect Russian-Cuban partnership in any way, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Friday in an interview with three Russian news agencies.
"We never make friendships with anyone against anyone else or against the interests of anyone else and this principle fully applies to Cuba," he said. "That's why it'd be totally out of place in this situation to claim we have second thoughts of some kind as regards the current developments in relations between Washington and Havana."
"Return of US-Cuban relations back to normal is a natural process that very unfortunately has been dragged out over decades," Ryabkov said. "Russia has been saying at various levels year after year that the upkeep of the US policy of blockading Cuba is bigger that something merely archaic or rudimentary. It’s an atavistic method plucked out of an entirely different epoch."
"Moscow noted with much satisfaction that officials in Washington finally recognized their error in this respect last year," he said. "Such things happen seldom enough if you take our American partners but this was precisely the case in that situation."
"We welcome the work aimed at tapping new foundations for relationship between the closest neighbors," he said. "Russia, too, collaborates with everyone in Latin America along the principle of benefits for all sides."
Ryabkov recalled that allied relationship and profound partnership had taken shape in Russian-Cuban relations. "This deep-going partnership has been time-tested," he said.
"The Cubans are helping us to promote dialogue and collaboration with integration-minded Latin American associations of countries," Ryabkov said. "I'm confident the incipient process of normalization of Cuban-US relations will not affect all these things."
"That’s why it would be totally wrong to claim we might have whatever second thoughts with regards to the Washington-Havana rapprochement," he said. "We’re quite pleased with the fact that five Cuban internationalists have finally returned home after a long-time imprisonment in the US."
"We also worked towards their liberation," Ryabkov said.
"We’re demonstrating solidarity with the Cuban leadership at all levels and we equally praise the assistance and support Cuba is giving to us in the current highly complicated situation," he said. "It supports our initiatives at the UN and at other international forums in the areas ranging from prevention of arms race in open space and ending with a discussion of knotty problems related to human rights."
"The Cubans and the Russians are acting in a united front," he said.