February 22, 2013 20:57
Medvedev calls Latin American countries area of Moscow's strategic interest
HAVANA. Feb 22 (Interfax) - Russia's cooperation with the countries of Latin America is not opportunistic in nature but an area of Moscow's strategic interest, and Russia expects it to be long-term, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
"Our relations with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean Basin are not opportunistic and have nothing to do with our relations with other countries, be it the United States of America or others. We simply believe that a number of countries here are our friends, with which we are developing full-scale cooperation. This is a rapidly developing region, with very good economic opportunities, and at the same time having its own problems that we could address together," Medvedev said in an interview with Cuban media outlets.
"Therefore, this is an area of our strategic partner interests, and we are present here and have a broad range of relations - diplomatic and trade-economic ones - with the countries of the region precisely due to these reasons," he said.
In the 1990s, Moscow's ties with Latin American countries were far less active, Medvedev said. "This was because of our internal problems: we didn't have enough strength for our own development, and it is no secret that relations with other countries require economic potential, will, and activity. But these times are gone. Other times have come, and our contacts are systemic, not to mention those with Cuba, which is dear to the heart of each Russian," Medvedev said.
Russia is maintaining active relations with Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, and others, he said.
"We are here to stay, and we want our relations with countries of the region to be very, very good, Medvedev said.
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