Por Antonio Rondón García
Moscow, Dec 25 (Prensa Latina) Russia reiterated its rejection of the United States economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, and confirmed its commitment to developing and deepening its strategic cooperation with the country in several fields.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Serguei Riabkov answered a question from Prensa Latina about Russian-Cuban relations, the content of which we offer below.
Question: A new anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution and 2021 are approaching. The year that is ending has been a difficult one because humanity faced a new challenge, the Covid-19 pandemic. In your opinion, did it influence Cuban-Russian relations in any way, did they continue to develop?
Answer: First of all, I would like to congratulate the brotherly Cuban people for their national celebration, Liberation Day, as well as for Christmas and the New Year. I wish health, welfare and new victories and achievements to our friends on the Island of Freedom.
Russia and Cuba are historically united by relations of loyal allies and true strategic partners, on the basies of mutual respect, trust, solidarity and closeness.
Those relations have stood the test of time, regardless of external circumstances, and have been geared at all times toward the future. That unobjectionable factor has been proven on different occasions by the leaders of our States.
We intend to make the necessary efforts for the consolidation and development of the entire spectrum of bilateral ties and to cooperate side by side in regional and international forums.
Undoubtedly, 2020 was a difficult year. The Covid-19 pandemic somehow tested the strength of the sincere friendship and solidarity of some States.
Our nations passed that test successfully by demonstrating an even stronger unity, a spirit of comradeship and sincere and brotherly mutual support in the fight against a common evil.
We emphasize that Havana, despite the US smear campaign against Cuban doctors, and the restrictions against its biopharmaceutical industry, which put at risk the health of thousands of people in other nations, continues with its help, guided by humanitarian principles, by sending doctors and medicines to other States of the world.
In the midst of such an effort, the US policy of unprecedented tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the Island of Freedom becomes even more cynical.
We are categorically against any restrictive measure applied unilaterally, in violation of the United Nations Charter and the principles and regulations of International Law. Russia calls for the immediate lifting of the US blockade, which is totally illegal, as it openly violates the UN Charter.
The complicated 2020 was also a real challenge for Russian-Cuban relations in the material sphere.
However, as true partners and faithful allies we continue to cooperate within the framework of the Russia-Cuba Intergovernmental Commission for Economic-Commercial and Scientific-Technical Cooperation.
In that regard, we follow the guidelines drawn by our heads of State to strengthen the strategic partnership and allied relations. We hope that in early 2021 we will reach mutually acceptable decisions on issues still to be resolved.
We confirm our interest in developing constructive cooperation with Havana in strategic directions such as energy, transportation, agriculture, the metallurgical industry, health care and education, among others.
At the same time, this year was not only characterized by some challenges in the ties with Cuba.
I would like to note an important fact: in December 2020, Cuba became the first country in the Latin American region to obtain the status of Observer State in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
That step will undoubtedly contribute to boosting and diversifying economic-commercial and investment cooperation with the EU member States.
Since November 2020, Russia reestablished air communications with our friend Cuba via Moscow-Cayo Coco. And as we could see, the interest of our tourists in Cuba not only remained in the midst of the pandemic, but also grew.
We thank our Cuban friends for the hospitality extended to our compatriots.
To conclude, I would like to stress again that we are always ready to provide the necessary support to the Republic of Cuba, our strategic partner and friend.