Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sergey Lavrov's media briefing about Haiti and Cuba...from version"TV-Novosti"

Transcript of remarks and response to media questions by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at press conference to sum up Russian foreign policy activities in 2009, Moscow, January 22, 2010.

You asked separately about our relationship with Cuba. These relations have a special place in our ties with Latin America. I have already said that the President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers of Cuba, Raul Castro, paid a visit to Russia a year ago. A meeting of the Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on trade-and-economic and scientific-technical cooperation took place, and solid packages of documents were signed. We laid the emphasis on energy, transport, engineering and biopharmaceuticals. A Memorandum on the principles of our strategic cooperation was also signed. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between our countries. As part of my visit to Havana I will participate in the 19th Havana International Book Fair, where this year Russia will be the chief guest. So in all spheres, including humanitarian, we have very good prospects. For us these relations are value in themselves. They develop to the extent that there is very serious, very natural interest in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation.

With regard to Haiti, of course, we advocate that the operations of relief to that long-suffering country should be carried out in strict accordance with the principles that are endorsed by the international community for such situations. Whether we like it or not, in many cases, the humanitarian situation in some way requires the deployment of military resources, just because it is faster, more efficient. But it is sometimes also that there are simply no other resources to cope with a disaster. The Haiti disaster is really an unprecedented tragedy. I proceed from the assumption that whatever resources the various countries might use, Russia will actively participate in relief efforts in Haiti through the provision of personnel, equipment and supplies by our Emergencies Ministry in any case. Nobody will exploit the current situation to achieve any purpose other than to provide assistance to the Haitian people and the Haitian state in dire need of it.


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