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    Russian deputy PM visits Nicaragua as part of Latin American tour

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    A Russian delegation led by a deputy prime minister has visited Nicaragua as part of a Latin American tour to revive ties with the region.

    MANAGUA, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian delegation led by a deputy prime minister has visited Nicaragua as part of a Latin American tour to revive ties with the region.

    Igor Sechin visited Nicaragua on Wednesday after trips to Cuba, where he pledged aid after two recent hurricanes, and Venezuela where talks were focused on energy, manufacturing, and shipbuilding.

    Sechin said the visit, which was also part of preparations for Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's visit to Moscow, "is aimed at reinvigorating bilateral ties, including in the economic sphere." He also highlighted joint education projects.

    Nicaragua said it looks forward to cooperation with Russia in off-shore oil prospecting and hydrothermal energy.

    Nicaragua is the only country that has joined Russia in recognizing Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

    Ortega, leader of the ruling Sandinista party that battled against U.S.-backed forces in Nicaragua in the 1980s, has recently allied himself with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, another fierce critic of the White House. During talks with Sechin, Ortega said that other Central American countries could recognize the Caucasus republics soon.

    Ortega said he had "talked the issue over with some of his colleagues in the region," but refused to give any names, citing diplomatic practice.

    The majority of Western nations condemned Russia's recognition of the Georgian breakaway regions and its military response to Georgia's offensive to retake South Ossetia in early August. Nicaragua and other leftist Latin American states criticized the United States' support for Georgia.

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