MOSCOW, April 20 /TASS/. Moscow is waiting for Cuban leader Raul Castro who is planning to visit Moscow for Victory Day celebrations, Valentina Matvienko, the head of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament), said after meeting the Vice-Premier of Cuban government, Rodrigo Cabrisas Ruiz, on Monday.
"We are waiting for Raul Castro, president of the Council of State and chairman of the Council of Ministers of Cuba, to visit Moscow to attend the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Victory (in the Great Patriotic War). We are sure that the meeting between our heads of state will advance our relations in all areas," Matvienko said.
She noted that Cuba would organize a series of events, in which the Russian side would take part, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Victory.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on March 17 that Chinese President Xi Jinping, the presidents of India, South Africa, Mongolia and Vietnam as well as the leaders of Cuba and North Korea had confirmed their participation in the festivities devoted to the 70th anniversary of Victory.
"Invitations have been sent to the heads of 68 foreign states as well as the heads of the United States, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the European Union," Lavrov said.
Restoration of Cuba’s relations with the United States was another topic which Matvienko had discussed with Rodrigo Cabrisas Ruiz. "It is a great victory for Cuba," she said. "You held out and did not bow your head," the Russian lawmaker stressed.
"But it is necessary to bear in mind that the current US rhetoric with regards to Cuba and other Latin American countries does not mean the US is ready to give up its old plans completely," Matvienko stressed.
On December 17, 2014, US President Barack Obama announced his intention to normalize the diplomatic relations with Cuba and weaken some of the trade restrictions imposed on the island nation. Obama notified the Congress of his plans to exclude Cuba from a list of countries that sponsor international terrorism. He also promised some sanctions relief for Cuba. The presidential decision will take effect within 45 days if the Congress does challenge it. If that happens, the US "blacklist" of terrorism sponsors will be reduced to Iran, Sudan and Syria.