Cold War allies Russia and Cuba signed a host of agreements on Friday in a bid to revive ties and improve economic cooperation.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Cuban leader Raul Castro, who is on his first visit to Moscow since 1985, signed a memorandum on “strategic” cooperation in the Kremlin. The two countries also signed agreements to grant the Caribbean state a $20 million loan and provide food aid.
Speaking to reporters after the Kremlin talks, Russia’s deputy prime minister said Cuba would use the loan to buy Russian-made construction, electricity-generating and agricultural equipment. Igor Sechin also said Russia’s flagship air carrier Aeroflot and Cuba’s largest airline Cubana de Aviacion were considering setting up a joint venture.
Speaking about the food deliveries, Sechin said Russia could supply an additional 100,000 metric tons of grain to Cuba as part of a humanitarian food aid plan, after the country was badly affected by two tropical hurricanes, Gustav and Ike, in September 2008. A Kremlin official said earlier Russia planned to send 25,000 metric tons of grain to Cuba “to alleviate the acute food problem.”
Over 30 documents were signed as part of Castro’s Russian visit, to continue into February 4, including memos on cooperation in trade, education, sport and tourism. (RIA Novosti)