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Russia's Interests in Latin America Not to Clash With US Aims

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Russia's aims in Latin America are not expected to rival those of the United States.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia's aims in Latin America are not expected to rival those of the United States, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Department for Latin America, Alexander Shchetinin, said Tuesday.

"I cannot speak for the United States, but we have our own agenda in the region. We have our own approach to Latin Americans, and we see that this approach is valued. We are not trying to rival anyone, and the political, economic and humanitarian niches in the region are large, we have things to offer to the Latin Americans," Shchetinin told RIA Novosti.

The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), of which Russia is a member, expects to sign a cooperation agreement with Mercosur, the South American regional bloc, in 2016. If it is signed, the document set to become the EEU's first cooperation agreement with an economic bloc outside Eurasia.

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According to Shchetinin, Russia's cooperation with Latin American countries is absolutely pragmatic and mutually beneficial; Russia is prepared to cooperate with all political forces in the region.

The recent normalization of Cuban-US relations also does not imply rivalry between the United States and Russia, the diplomat asserted. "The normalization process… does not cast doubt on the Cuban leadership's aspirations to develop contacts with Russia," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored the importance of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and Mercosur cooperation during a meeting with then Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirshener.

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