MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Moscow has always respected the sovereignty and independence of Latin American countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the opening ceremony of an exhibition of rare books and manuscripts from the collection of the Russian State Library, dubbed "To the Shores of Latin America."
"Russia has always respected the sovereignty and independence of Latin American countries. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the Russian Empire established diplomatic relations with all Latin American countries that we continue to maintain," the Russian top diplomat said. According to him, a thing to note is that in 1907, Russia was the first to invite the countries of the region to the second conference in The Hague to discuss pressing global issues.
The Russian foreign minister emphasized that Russian travelers and diplomats had pointed to cultural similarities and spiritual connection between Latin American countries and Russia. Lavrov also said that those people had never been guided by expansionist or neo-colonial ideas. "They were guided by a genuine interest in the culture and traditions of this unique region, the people who live there and a search for mutually beneficial ways of cooperation. These people were inspired by the desire to see, understand and study this unusual region," the minister said, bringing up the name of Lidia Lasheyeva, a translator who crossed South America on a bike at the beginning of the 20th century.
Lavrov commended the influence Russian communities had on humanitarian ties and their role in strengthening dialogue between civil societies. "Based on centuries-long traditions and humanitarian cooperation between Russia and Latin American countries, we can continue to boost our relations. Activities such as today’s exhibition make a useful contribution to efforts aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and trust," Lavrov concluded.
About 60 books, manuscripts and prints are on display at the exhibition, dedicated related to the Latin American missions of Russian and Soviet researchers, diplomats, travelers, poets and painters, which took place in the 18th to 20th centuries. The exhibition will only last one day but all items will available at the Russian State Library.