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Cuban-Russian future military cooperation is unlikely - diplomat

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Cuban leadership has no intentions to resume military cooperation with Russia after a surprise closure of a Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, a high-ranking Cuban diplomat said on Saturday.
NEW DELHI, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Cuban leadership has no intentions to resume military cooperation with Russia after a surprise closure of a Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, a high-ranking Cuban diplomat said on Saturday.

After Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin visited Cuba on July 30-31, the council issued a statement saying: "Russia and Cuba are set to make consistent efforts to restore longtime ties in all spheres of cooperation and to expand and strengthen them."

"The Cuban leadership is ready to cooperate with Russia in civilian sectors but it is unlikely to revive bilateral military cooperation, especially after what happened with Lourdes," the anonymous diplomatic source said.

The electronic monitoring and surveillance facility near Havana at Torrens, also known as the Lourdes facility, the largest Russian SIGINT site abroad, was shut down in October 2001 by then- president Vladimir Putin.

"We were not even notified about the decision [by the Russian leadership]," the diplomat said.

The Lourdes facility reportedly covered a 28 square-mile area, with 1,000-1,500 Russian engineers, technicians, and military personnel working at the base.

The complex was capable of monitoring a wide array of commercial and government communications throughout the southeastern United States, and between the United States and Europe.

Lourdes intercepted transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of shortwave and high-frequency radio transmissions.

Russia reportedly paid a $200-million rent for the facility.

Apparently, the statement issued by the Russian Security Council on Friday meant cooperation in all civilian sectors including oil production, tourism, healthcare, nickel production, telecommunications and nanotechnology.

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