MOSCOW, July 2. /TASS/. The Kremlin welcomes recent efforts by the United States and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.
President Vladimir Putin "has already made comments [in this regard]", Peskov told journalists, adding that the Russian leader "has given quite a positive assessment of the process of normalizing ties between the US and Cuba".
The issue of Russia’s relations with Latin America was raised during Putin’s meeting with top executives of the world's leading news agencies in St. Petersburg in late June.
Spanish news agency Efe reported that the Russian president had expressed support for the diplomatic thaw between Havana and Washington, noting that the US’ steps to lift its longstanding trade embargo against Cuba could positively influence both the island and the rest of the world. Putin vowed that Moscow would seek to expand cooperation with Latin American countries, the agency said.
Restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States will not harm cooperation between Moscow and Havana, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin said on Thursday.
He spoke in comments on the announcement by United States and Cuban leaders last December of plans to resume diplomatic relations, since when the two sides have held several rounds of talks on reopening embassies.
"We are for cooperation with somebody, not cooperation against anybody. This refers to bilateral relations as well as multilateral unions," said Naryshkin, leader of Russia's parliamentary lower house. "We have the same position on Moscow-Havana collaboration."
Cuba's Foreign Affairs Ministry has declared that the United States has confirmed its readiness to restore ties with Cuba and reopen embassies in their respective capitals on July 20.
US President Barak Obama has announced the Havana embassy's opening this summer. Without determining an exact date, he declared "that the United States agreed upon restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the reopening of embassies in each other’s capitals", adding that the two states had started a "new page" of diplomatic history.
In recent months, the Obama administration has eased trade restrictions on Cuba, resolved the issue of providing financial services to the Cuban Interests Section, Havana's diplomatic mission in Washington, and removed the island state from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
All these issues were among Cuban preconditions for normalizing relations with the US.