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MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that developing relations with Latin America was not a new trend but rather the result of old and traditionally broad ties with that geographic region.
"Both the Russian president and the foreign minister have made a number of trips to Latin America in recent years, meeting in different configurations the leaders of the region’s countries," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.
"What can be regarded as a new trend are recent Russian contacts with Latin American regional organisations," he said, noting Mercosur, South America's leading trading bloc grouping Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as other organisations and associations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We want to expand co-operation with that region in various spheres," Lukashevich said.
"Much attention has been given lately to the issue of Latin American regional structures working together with the Eurasian Economic Union," he said, referring to the new Russia-led political and economic bloc formed with Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.
The diplomat said this was part of plans "to integrate integrations", a new Russian initiative the country was to examine with Europe. "We hope this will be discussed within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe," Lukashevich said.
"Latin America is one of the priority regions in Russia’s foreign policy and it will remain as such in the foreseeable future," he said.
"Some interesting opportunities are opening now to diversify our trade and economic, cultural and scientific ties with Chile, Argentina, Cuba, Nicaragua and a whole range of other states of the region which are interested in co-operation with the Russian Federation."