Moscow, Nov 29 - President Vladimir Putin today sent greetings to the annual conference of the Cuba-Russia Friendship Association and highlighted the role of that body in promoting and developing ties between the two countries.
Putin noted, in particular, that at the beginning of the association's work there were two heroes, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and Commander Ernesto Che Guevara.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Riabkov highlighted, in the conference held at the Foreign Ministry's Protocol House, that both governments and peoples maintain the course of defending their national interests at all times.
Now when there are many transformations in the world, and even unexpected changes, our two nations can in no way distance themselves from the defense of their freedom to choose their own path of development and the struggle for their sovereignty, Riabkov said.
Cuba is our strategic partner, regardless of any international situation, he added. Our nation ratifies its demand to end the discriminatory, illegal and unilateral economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, which has caused damages of almost a trillion dollars in some six decades, Riabkov said.
He also highlighted the intense exchanges at the highest level, with the visit to Cuba, last October, of Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, and the visit here earlier this month, of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez.
Likewise, a parliamentary delegation, led by the Chairperson of the Federation Council (Russian Senate), Valentina Matvienko, and that of the Secretary of the National Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, to Cuba.
Similarly, he highlighted the current development of bilateral ties, with the participation of Russia in major projects of the Cuban economic development program through 2030.
For his part, Cuban Ambassador to Russia Gerardo Peñalver highlighted the approval in the Senate and the State Duma (Russian lower house) of two resolutions demanding the lifting of the US blockade against the Caribbean nation.
The Honorary President of the Association, Vadim Saushev, recalled that the body was created in November 1965, for which occasion Che Guevara traveled to the former Soviet Union. (PL)