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Russia to help Cuba modernize weaponry, train military

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Modernization of the Soviet-made military equipment and training of Cuban military personnel will be the focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the near future, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Friday.

HAVANA, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Modernization of the Soviet-made military equipment and training of Cuban military personnel will be the focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the near future, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Friday.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov arrived on a working visit to Cuba on Monday, met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the country's military leadership, and visited a number of military installations.

"During the Soviet era we delivered a large number of military equipment to Cuba, and after all these years most of this weaponry has become obsolete and needs repairs," Makarov said.

"We inspected the condition of this equipment, and outlined the measures to be taken to maintain the defense capability of this country...I think a lot of work needs to be done in this respect, and I hope we will be able to accomplish this task," the general said.

Makarov said the Cuban request for assistance with training of military personnel will also be fully satisfied.

Although the Cuban leadership has repeatedly said it has no intention of resuming military cooperation with Russia after the surprise closure of the Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, bilateral military ties seem to have been improving following the visit of Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to Cuba in July last year.

A group of Russian warships, led by the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer visited Cuba in December last year during a Caribbean tour.

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