Russia, Cuba Set to Diversify Trade – Lavrov

MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and Cuba are planning to diversify bilateral trade, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday after talks with his Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez.

“Our priority tasks are to increase and diversify trade turnover and carry out projects in spheres like energy, transport and infrastructure,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Rodriguez said the two states had “promising perspectives” for cooperation in energy and civil aviation and tourism.

Bilateral trade stood at $219.5 million in 2012, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said ahead of the talks. Last year, a record number of 87,000 Russian tourists visited Cuba.

During Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Cuba in February, a preliminary agreement was reached to write off part of the country’s $30 billion Soviet-era debt.

Russia also agreed to lease three An-158 regional jets to its longtime ally. Talks are underway for the purchase of Ilyushin-96-400 long-haul passenger planes and Tu-204SM mid-range aircraft.


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