MOSCOW, May 7. /TASS/. Issues of the development of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Cuba, as well as regional and global problems will be in focus of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Cuban President of the Council of State Raul Castro on Thursday, Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov said.
"The agenda of the talks will include issues of political, trade and economic cooperation, as well as international and regional problems," he said.
Ushakov noted that trade between the two countries in 2014 had dropped by 12% to 163 million US dollars as contract supplies within the Russian loan had been completed. Russia’s exports, in his words, had reduced by a third, while imports from Cuba had increased two-fold, with agricultural produce accounting for 90% of Cuban exports to Russia.
The Russian president’s aide noted that among the most promising bilateral projects were the reconstruction of Cuban heat plants Maximo Gomez and East Havana by Russia’s Inter RAO, the modernization of the metallurgy works Antillana de Acero by Russia’s Metallurgmash consortium, financing of the construction of a transport hub at the site of the air base San Antonio de los Baсos and an international airport and the modernization of the sea port Mariel by the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and the development of the Boca de Jaruco field jointly by Russia’s Zarubezhneft and Cuba’s state oil company Cupet.
Apart from that, the two leaders will discuss regional and global problems. Notably, they are meeting on the backdrop of a thaw in Cuba’s relations with the United States.
"Russia hails the process of the normalization of the Cuban-US relations," Ushakov noted. "Resuming full-scale bilateral dialogue is in the interests of both countries and international security in general. Russia’s position that the United States must immediately lift its trade and economic blockade of Cuba is unchanged."
Ushakov noted that Russia’s and Cuba’s positions on key problems of the international agenda were "traditionally close." "Our countries are committed to strict observance of the norms and principles of international law, the United Nations Charter, strengthening its central role in the world," he underscored.
The Russian president’s aide also noted that Russia was developing cooperation with Cuban partners in the format of Latin American associations, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Central American Integration System (SICA).
On Wednesday, Raul Castro met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. On May 9, the Cuban leader will take part in the celebrations dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.