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Press statements following Russian-Cuban talks

November 2, 2018, The Kremlin, Moscow

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome the Chairman of the Cuban State Council and the Council of Ministers to Russia.

Let me note that this is Mr Diaz-Canel’s first official visit to Russia since he assumed office as head of state.

We have held detailed talks, including with the participation of key ministers, discussed the entire range of issues related to bilateral cooperation and examined topical matters on the international and regional agendas.

The atmosphere of the meeting was friendly, businesslike and constructive. This characterises the Russian-Cuban dialogue. Our nations are linked by strong ties of many years of friendship, mutual sympathy, respect, solidarity and support.

The joint statement we have just signed reaffirms the strategic and allied relations between our counties.

Naturally, we gave a great deal of attention to economic cooperation. Let me note that bilateral trade grew by 17 percent last year.

Of course, these are modest figures and volumes in absolute terms, but we know what we need to do next. This is why Mr Diaz-Canel and I have instructed the intergovernmental commission, which had a regular meeting in Havana this week, to outline concrete measures to increase bilateral trade and expand investment cooperation.

We have accumulated positive experience in the energy industry. Russia’s oil and petroleum product supplies make a weighty contribution to the resources of the Cuban economy and guarantee energy security. Russian energy companies successfully operate in Cuba. Rosneft is conducting a geological survey on the Cuban continental shelf and modernising the country’s refineries. Zarubezhneft is developing a large offshore oil field. Inter RAO is building four new energy units for a Cuban thermal power plant.

There is mutually beneficial industrial cooperation. Russian companies are involved in the technical refurbishing of Cuban factories that produce metal and nickel products and nitrogen fertiliser. We are cooperating on the production of innovative on e-of-a-kind medications. Russia is offering Cuba assistance in building transport infrastructure facilities. Today we talked about renovating the Cuban railway system, which should triple passenger traffic and double cargo shipments throughout the country.

We are preparing for the deployment of a Russian GLONASS ground station in Cuba. As a result, our Cuban partners will get access to extensive technical capabilities for Earth remote sensing and satellite and telecommunications services.

Overall, I would like to stress that Russian businesses are willing to participate in the large-scale modernisation of Cuba’s national economy. Specific projects will be discussed today during President Diaz-Canel’s meeting with our leading business people.

Of course, we also covered the development of cultural and humanitarian links. Our plans include opening a branch of the Russian Museum in Cuba that would become the first multi-purpose centre for learning the Russian language, Russian arts and culture in Latin America.

I also want to mention that Russia is providing assistance in restoring the gilt on the dome of the El Capitolio in Havana, which houses the Cuban National Assembly. We plan to complete the restoration by the 500th anniversary of Havana next year.

We intend to continue to assist in the training of highly skilled Cuban professionals in various fields. As a reminder, about 30,000 Cubans have received higher education in our country. Currently, 250 Cuban citizens are studying at Russian universities.

Cuba has always been and certainly remains one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists. Last year, about 100,000 Russians visited the republic. In December, an updated intergovernmental agreement will take effect establishing a simplified entry procedure on both sides, simplifying mutual visa requirements.

When discussing the global and regional agenda, the participants noted the proximity of the two countries’ positions on the most important issues. They also reaffirmed mutual interest in further coordinating their joint steps on the world stage.

Russia and Cuba have always supported and continue to support strict observance of the key principles of international law stipulated in the UN Charter, including respect for the sovereignty and interests of all states, the unacceptability of power politics, the use of unilateral sanctions and interference in internal affairs.

We agreed with our Cuban friends to deepen cooperation in the fight against transnational organised crime, including in cyberspace, illicit drug production and trafficking, and other present-day challenges and threats.

Our Cuban friends fully share Russia’s commitment to deepening dialogue with regional organisations and integration associations of South America and the Caribbean and will provide us with the necessary assistance.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr Diaz-Canel and all our Cuban friends and colleagues for the substantive and productive discussion. I am confident that the agreements reached today will help further strengthen the friendly ties between Russia and Cuba.

Thank you.

Chairman of the State Council and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez (retranslated): President Putin, ladies and gentlemen,

For us, this visit symbolises the continuation and continuity of the Cuban Revolution. Being faithful followers of the legacy of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz and Army General Raul Castro Ruz, we maintain and constantly work to strengthen relations between Cuba and Russia. This alone accounts for the importance of this visit, which, I am confident, will become a milestone in our relations.

Notably, yesterday, when we arrived in Moscow, the capital of the country that stood up for Cuba from the first years of the revolution, it was here that we learned the news of Cuba’s victory at the UN, which makes this visit particularly important. I think that coincidences in history occasionally pinpoint moments that are important to everyone.

I had productive talks with Mr Vladimir Putin, which were another confirmation of the great state of bilateral relations.

We recalled with satisfaction Mr Putin’s productive visit to Havana and our meaningful meetings, when I had the honour to greet him at the airport upon his arrival in our country. Since then, we have maintained and expanded our exchanges at the highest level.

We noted the importance of bilateral relations and the opportunities for further development.

We are very pleased with the numerous instances of shared vision on international issues, especially with regard to protecting peace and the role of international organisations, as well as close cooperation at various international platforms and organisations.

I am grateful for Russia's steadfast stance against the commercial, economic and financial embargo, which is causing damage to my country. We plan to expand our trade and economic ties and bring them to the high level that we enjoy in the political sphere. Joint projects in energy, transport, the steel industry and biotechnology have an important place in our plans for economic growth and great potential.

I am grateful for President Putin’s willingness, since the start of my mandate, to assist in promoting Cuba’s industrial development. This is realised in Russia's participation in Cuba’s socioeconomic development projects until 2030 and beyond.

I reiterate the importance of the bonds of friendship that exist between our countries, which form the foundation of bilateral relations. The joint declaration that we signed envisages all aspects of our relations in the economic, political and social spheres, which Mr Putin also mentioned, and serves as confirmation of our continued future relations.

I conveyed to President Putin the invitation by the Cuban government and the people to come to our country on an official visit next year, which marks the fifth anniversary of his previous visit to our country in 2014.

Thank you.

November 2, 2018, The Kremlin, Moscow