16:27 GMT21 February 2020
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    Russia's Ambassador in Cuba Mikhail Kamynin said that the meeting of Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis in Havana will work to further strengthen the authority of Cuba as an important player in the international arena.

    HAVANA (Sputnik) — The visit of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Cuba will make the long-lasting relations between Moscow and Havana more vibrant, and will contribute to Havana's standing in the international arena, Russia's Ambassador in Cuba Mikhail Kamynin said.

    "I am confident that the Patriarch's visit will contribute to the further development of bilateral relations, will enrich them spiritually, will make long history of relations between Moscow and Havana even brighter," Kamynin told RIA Novosti in an interview.

    He said that Cuba had not been chosen "accidentally" for such an historic event, as in recent years Havana "has repeatedly proved" interested in using its resources for the promotion of global peace, as well as stability in the region.

    "Undoubtedly, the meeting of Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis in Havana will work to further strengthen the authority of the Island of Freedom as an important player in the international arena," the ambassador said.

    On Thursday, the Patriarch arrived in Cuba to meet with the Pope on Friday, at the Jose Marti International Airport in Havana, in what will be the first ever face-to-face engagement between the leaders of the two Christian churches. The two religious leaders are expected to sign a joint declaration.

    The historic meeting between the two church leaders is scheduled for Friday for 2:15 p.m. local time (19:15 GMT). The meeting will focus on a range of issues, including the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, falling birth rates and euthanasia.

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    Patriarch Kirill, Pope Francis, Mikhail Kamynin, Cuba, Russia
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