Russia ready to collaborate with all Latin American countries - Putin
On the contrary, nations in the region are ready for joint action to protect their shared Latin American home,” Putin said in an exclusive interview to the Latin American news agency Prensa Latina ahead of his South American tour, during which he will visit Cuba, Argentina and Brazil.
He believes that "integration processes in Latin America reflect to a large extent the worldwide regional integration tendencies and indicate the pursuit of political consolidation in the region and reinforcement of its influence on global affairs."
Putin highlighted the role of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). "It is meant as a union of all the countries on the continent, and its aim is to become a major forum for dealing with regional issues without the participation and obtrusive interference of external forces. We welcome the CELAC's readiness to establish connections outside the region, including with Russia," he said.
The president recalled that "last year, Moscow saw the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia and the CELAC's extended troika. Now it is important to define concrete areas of cooperation. We are ready for this work."
Putin said that the establishment of contacts between CELAC and the countries taking part in the Customs Union and Common Economic Space would open up many new opportunities. "Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are deepening the integration process. In May, we signed the Agreement on Establishing the Eurasian Economic Union, which will come into force on January 1, 2015," he said.
In his opinion, this will create one of the world’s biggest common markets with a population of almost 170 million and free movement of capital, goods, services, and labor. This market operates on the basis of universal principles and WTO norms and rules. "This will make it a lot easier to do business in the Eurasian region and broaden opportunities for developing mutually advantageous business contacts with foreign partners," he said.
He reaffirmed that Russia is open to substantive interaction with all integration formations in the Latin American region. That includes the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Pacific Alliance, the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
"It is vital that all these associations, as they develop their external relations, should work towards the unity of Latin American countries, and not for their separation, both politically and ideologically. We hope that consolidation of multilateral cooperation will be an additional factor in the successful development of our bilateral relations with Latin American partners," Putin said.