Russia writes off Cuba’s Soviet-era debt
A truly landmark agreement deals with Russia’s decision to write off part of the Soviet-era debt. Denis Manturov comments…
"There was an accumulated debt on loans allocated by the Soviet Union and we have now prepared an agreement that should undergo all the necessary procedures. Moscow will write off part of the $30 billion debt and will offer a 10-year refinancing plan for the remaining amount, according to the preliminary agreement. The final decision on debt settlement will be signed by the end of the year."
The sides have also agreed that Russia will lease several jets to Cuba. Mr. Manturov continues…
"Three AN-158 regional planes will be delivered this year: in March, in June and in August. Cuba will also receive three Ilyushin-96-400 long-haul jets and two TU-204 SM mid-range aircraft. All the eight jets are worth $650 million. Russia will also provide parts for aircraft that Cuba has been operating for quite a long time."
Russia and Cuba have agreed to boost cooperation in a wide range of spheres, including nuclear medicine, peaceful space exploration, environmental protection and education.
Russia and Cuba have initialed an agreement to settle Havana’s Soviet debt to Moscow.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Deputy Head of the Council of Ministers Ricardo Cabrisas both signed the document.
According to Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, part of the $30-billion debt will be written off and part of it will be restructured. Manturov said the Cuban debt to Russia came from Soviet Union-granted loans.
The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Cuban leader Raul Castro after talks were held.
The two leaders also agreed on cooperation in space exploration and on environmental monitoring.
Russian Prime Minister Medvedev arrived in Cuba after a two-day trip to Brazil.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the head of the Russian Cabinet of Ministers, has arrived in Havana from Brazil, where he had held talks with the leadership of the republic, as well as held meeting on bilateral issues with a high-level commission on cooperation.
In Cuba, following a meeting between the country’s leadership and Medvedev, a number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed.
On Friday, the Prime Minister will visit the 22nd Havana International Book Fair which is held in Cuba every year.
The current event is dedicated to the 160th anniversary of the birth of Cuban revolutionary hero Jose Marti.
At a monument to Jose Marti Prime Minister Medvedev laid a wreath in a traditional ceremony following the protocol for all visits by foreign dignitaries.
Energy cooperation, space exploration projects, measures to develop the farming sector, small and medium-sized businesses and education programs topped the agenda of a two-day visit to Brazil by Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Dmitry Medvedev flew to Brazil at the invitation of the country’s President Dilma Rousseff. His meeting with Dilma Rousseff became the first in the program of the visit. A high-level political dialogue between Russia and Brazil has been developing steadily over the past few years. The Russian president has visited Brazil twice since 2002, while the Brazilian president has paid four visits to Russia over the same period of time. President Dilma Rousseff’s recent visit to Russia - in December 2012 - coincided with her birthday.
"As relations between Russia and Brazil acquire more strategic importance, contacts between the two have become more frequent. While the two countries’ economies are developing at a fairly fast rate, both Russia and Brazil are doing their utmost to bolster mutual trust."
Russia and Brazil have similar views on addressing global issues and pursue an effective cooperation on ensuring regional and global security, strengthening economic stability and combating international terrorism. Simultaneously, they are working to establish multilateral cooperation within the BRICS groups of countries which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Russia and Brazil also follow identical agendas within the G20 group, which both deem a perfect venue to discuss economic issues.
During his visit Dmitry Medvedev took part in the sixth session of the Brazil-Russia High-Level Cooperation Commission which focused on a wide range of regional and international issues. The two sides underscored the importance of establishing effective partnership within the UN, BRICS, G20 and the WTO.
Joint educational, scientific and technological projects became yet another important point of the agenda. The two leaders signed a memorandum on the implementation of the Brazilian program Science Without Borders, which was announced in the course of Dilma Rousseff’s visit to Moscow in December. The program will make it possible for Brazilian students to study at the world’s top higher education institutes, including in Russia.
As for cooperation on space exploration, a station to determine spacecraft’s slant range has been put up on the territory of the University of Brasilia.
The participants in Russia-Brazil talks called for expanding bilateral trade. Trade volume between Russia and Brazil amounted to $7.1 billion in 2012. This volume should hit a new high of $10 billion, the two leaders said. Dmitry Medvedev believes that this target can be achieved in the near future.
"It’s important that Russia and Brazil launch new economic projects and oversee progress of the current ones. In my opinion, the target of $10 billion annual trade turnover is achievable and meets the two countries’ economic potential."
Energy projects will take center-stage of the Russia-Brazil economic cooperation. Russia’s OJSC Power Machines is supplying Brazilian hydro power plants with equipment under previously signed contracts and will pursue similar projects in the future. Russia’s Energomashexport is tapping the Brazilian hydro power market. In addition, Russia’s Gazprom opened a representative office in Rio de Janeiro in November 2011.
Voice of Russia, TASS, RIA