Russian-Cuban talks

Dmitry Medvedev holds talks with Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba.

Russian-Cuban talks

Documents signed following the talks

Statements for the press by Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and Dmitry Medvedev following Russia-Cuba talks

Russian-Cuban talks

Excerpts from the transcript:

Miguel Diaz-Canel (via interpreter): My distinguished friend, Mr Prime Minister of the Russian Federation,

I am pleased with the way you and your delegation are being welcomed in Havana today. I am certain that this visit will become a landmark event in the history of Russia-Cuba relations.

This visit allows us to continue the discussions that we started during your previous visits to Cuba and to talk about the issues raised during President Putin’s visit to Cuba. For me personally, this is also an opportunity to continue exchanging opinions, which we started during previous two meetings when we considered matters on our bilateral agenda – and, most importantly, the matters of cooperation and friendly relations between our countries.

Notably, your current visit is taking place ahead of the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between our countries, a time when we plan to hold a variety of events to mark this date. Because for Cuba, friendship with Russia has always been important and there are a great number of moments in our historical memory and in the life of every Cuban citizen that are related to this history in one way or another.

We would like you to forward our warm friendly regards to President Vladimir Putin. We confirm the invitation to him to visit Cuba (made in November 2018) when his schedule allows. We also hope that it will be possible to have a meeting during a working visit to Russia at the end of this month. We are grateful to President Putin for his invitation to attend the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We will be delighted to participate in these celebratory events.

I would like to once again confirm to you and your Government that we highly appreciate the excellent bilateral relations between our countries and the alignment of our stands on major issues of the international agenda. We also confirm our intention, during your visit, to promote the development and strengthening of our economic, trade and financial relations as well as our ties in other areas of cooperation.

We are thankful to Russia for supporting us in our fight against the blockade. We strongly condemn NATO’s attempts to surround the Russian Federation and close in on its borders. We strongly condemn the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia. We also highly value Russia’s role in achieving balance in the modern world and peace on the planet.

As a matter of fact, we have plenty of reasons to be pleased and content with this visit. I think all the matters that we will cover in the context of our meetings will only confirm this.

Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister and members of the delegation, for visiting Cuba in this difficult time. Cuba – its government and its people – sees it as a gesture of friendship, support and solidarity.

Dmitry Medvedev: My dear friend, Mr President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, friends,

Thank you for this warm welcome and such a positive attitude to these talks.

This year is special for your country because you are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and the 500th anniversary of Havana. Please accept our heartfelt greetings. Next year will mark 60 years since the establishment of our diplomatic relations.

You confirmed your participation in the events to mark the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War on 9 May 2020 in Moscow. Thank you very much. By all means, we will continue our dialogue during other meetings as well.

Today we have quite an extensive agenda. You and I have already started talks in a restricted format and discussed a number of important and sensitive issues.

I completely agree with your evaluation of the current situation. Our countries are being subjected to unprecedented pressure – and against any rules of international law and existing international conventions at that. Therefore, this kind of talks and meetings help us to overcome these difficulties as well. What is equally important is that our talks today are followed by the signing of a whole number of documents that will promote our cooperation in various areas. We have already talked over a whole range of ideas and will now continue our discussion. Finally, I would like to convey warm regards and best wishes from the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.

Documents signed following the talks:

Signing joint documents

Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Cuba on collaboration in science, technology and innovation
Signed by: Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of Russia Sergei Kuzmin and Vice Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment of Cuba Jose Fidel Santana Nunez;

Protocol of cooperation between the Federal Customs Service of Russia and the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba in fighting customs offences during air transportation of goods
Signed by: First Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service Ruslan Davydov and Chief of the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba Nelson Enrique Cordovez Reyes;

Memorandum of cooperation in education and personnel training between the Federal Customs Service of Russia and the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba
Signed by: First Deputy Head of the Federal Customs Service Ruslan Davydov and Chief of the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba Nelson Enrique Cordovez Reyes;

Agreement between REC Group and AVIAIMPORT S.A. on financing projects to maintain the airworthiness of Russian-made aircraft operated by CORPORACION DE LA AVIACION CUBANA S.A.
Signed by: CEO of REC Group Andrei Slepnyov and President of the Cuban Aviation Corporation Roberto Pena Samper;

Agreement between the REC Group and Banco Exterior de Cuba on financing the procurement of a rolling mill for the production of steel reinforcement and wire for the Las Tunas project
Signed by: CEO of REC Group Andrei Slepnyov and Vice President of Banco Exterior de Cuba Ernesto Medina Rosales;

Protocol of Intent between Russian Railways (RZD) and the Union of Railways of Cuba (UFC)
Signed by: Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Executive Board of Russian Railways Oleg Belozyorov and Director General of the Railway Union of Cuba Eduardo Hernandez Becerra;

Agreement between Rusatom Helskea and Inversiones Gamma S.A. on a project to establish an Irradiation Centre in the Republic of Cuba
Signed by: Deputy Director General for International Relations at ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation Nikolai Spassky and Vice Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment of Cuba Jose Fidel Santana Nunez.

An agreement on financing the expansion of the automotive assembly industry in Cuba by Russia’s VEB.RF bank was also signed during the visit.

Statements for the press by Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and Dmitry Medvedev following Russia-Cuba talks

Excerpts from the transcript:

Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and Dmitry Medvedev make statements for the media

Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez (via interpreter): Comrades, members of the delegations of the Republic of Cuba and the Russian Federation,

This morning Prime Minister Medvedev and I had productive talks in a traditionally warm atmosphere of friendship and complete mutual trust, which is characteristic of excellent relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Russian Federation. It also allowed us to continue the dialogue which took place in Moscow in early November 2018.

I conveyed my special greetings to President Putin and confirmed the invitation to visit Cuba when his work schedule permits. I also hope that I will have the opportunity to talk with him again in Moscow later this month.

The Prime Minister and I had the opportunity to discuss and review the expanding bilateral ties in all areas in 2019 as a result of a dynamic exchange, which is indicative of the political will of both governments to boost our relations as much as possible.

We confirm the high level of our political exchanges and coinciding opinions on most key issues of the international agenda.

I thanked Mr Medvedev for Russia’s staunch and unyielding position in fighting the economic, trade and financial blockade which the United States imposed on Cuba. I explained how the blockade has been tightened over the past year under the current administration especially with regard to financial persecution and brutal sanctions imposed on freight companies in order to prevent imports of energy into our country.

I also confirmed that we are absolutely against NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders and the unjust and immoral sanctions that the United States and some of its allies have been imposing on our brotherly country since 2014.

As part of today's talks, we also noted progress in Russia’s effective participation in Cuba’s plan for socioeconomic development to 2030 in areas such as energy, transport (four types), industry, biotechnology, agriculture and others.

At the same time, we identified topics that we should pay more attention to in order to achieve better results in our economic, trade and financial relations, as well as other areas of cooperation.

Signing eight important agreements is indicative of our desire and mutual commitment to continue to strengthen the legal foundations of our ties. The agreements complement the documents signed during the recently held 17th meeting of the Russian-Cuban Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in areas such as energy, transport, industry and finance.

We are confident that even amid the complex current international situation, relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Russian Federation will continue to improve for the benefit of our nations.

Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, friends and comrades.

First of all, I would like to say on behalf of our delegation and personally that we are delighted to be here in the hospitable Havana again, especially considering that it will mark its 500th anniversary soon. We can see how fast and dynamically it is developing. The Cuban people are spearheaded into the future and are building a modern country. I can assure you that you can rely on Russia’s assistance in this positive endeavour.

We have completed talks with President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez. As usual, these talks were held in a friendly and trust-based atmosphere. We discussed a wide range of bilateral and international issues.

This meeting has shown once again that Cuba is an important ally for Russia in Latin America and that our forward-looking relations are free from any time-serving considerations, because they are based on mutual respect and friendship between our nations.

However, not everyone likes our dialogue. Yes, this is true. The US economic blockade of Cuba has intensified over the past few months. There is an obvious trend to create a toxic atmosphere around economic cooperation with Cuba and to warn off investors, as well as to start an energy blockade of the island.

Nearly 60 years of Cuba’s resistance to the [US] embargo show that such attempts will not succeed, just as the attempts to put pressure on Russia. We stand firmly against the economic, trade and financial blockade of Cuba, and we fully support Havana’s demand that the blockade be lifted.

I would like to stress again that Cuba has good friends and reliable partners in Russia who see the principles of sovereignty and independence as the core of our national character and state policy.

Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and I have reaffirmed our resolve to strengthen our strategic partnership and have signed documents that speak louder than words.

We have agreed to continue providing active support to our large-scale joint projects in the field of transport, infrastructure and agriculture, as well as in energy, high technology and digital development.

I can tell you, by way of example, that tomorrow I will attend the ceremony to launch a Zarubezhneft refinery at Boca de Jaruco, where a horizontal well will be drilled for the first time in Cuba. This project, just as many others, is part of the general context of socioeconomic development and modernisation implemented by the Cuban authorities.

Russian businesses are ready to take part in this modernisation effort, and the Russian Government will support this.

I would like to thank our Cuban colleagues for preparing this meeting, including the co-chairs of the intergovernmental commission and representatives of ministries and agencies. We will continue working in all spheres, including in the field of cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

I would like to express gratitude once again to Comrade Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez and to all our Cuban friends for a hospitable welcome and interesting dialogue. I am confident that Russian-Cuban relations have a bright future.

Thank you.