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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will pay his first official visit to Nicaragua and Guatemala next week during his Latin American tour which also includes Cuba and Mexico.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will pay his first official visit to Nicaragua and Guatemala next week during his Latin American tour which also includes Cuba and Mexico.

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told a news briefing that Lavrov will visit Cuba on February 11-13 where he will lead the Russian delegation participating in the opening of the Havana International Book Fair. He will visit Nicaragua and Guatemala on February 14-15 respectively and Mexico on February 15-16.

    Russia is interested in Latin America as a partner, especially in energy, military and oil exploration fields. Russia's ties with Nicaragua were boosted in 2008 when the Central American country became the first Latin American country to join Moscow in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Venezuela has also since recognized the two former Georgian republics as independent.

    In 2008, the Russian nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) arrived in Venezuela for joint naval exercises in the Caribbean. It was the first such deployment since the Cold War when Latin America became an ideological battleground between the Soviet Union and the United States.

    MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti)

     

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