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Russia's Putin pledges broader cooperation with Cuba
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08:29, February 03, 2009

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday hailed the ongoing visit by Cuban leader Raul Castro and pledged further cooperation with the Caribbean state.

"I do hope the agreements reached during your visit will be implemented...primarily, those dealing with the real industrial sector," Interfax news agency cited Putin as saying during a meeting with Castro in Moscow.

Putin said Castro's visit will help cement bilateral ties and he vowed to promote cooperation with Cuba in such sectors as hydrocarbons, communications, global navigation system, ship-building and machine-building.

Castro agreed with Putin, saying that bilateral cooperation was stimulated in recent years and has now reached a new level.

"I think we must work further with the same intensity," Castro was quoted as saying.

Russia and Cuba signed a package of bilateral agreements after Friday's top-level Kremlin talks, reviving the once close alliance.

Moscow was Cuba's main benefactor during the Cold War era but their ties cooled after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

However, Russia has recently moved to rebuild links with Cuba, as well as other Latin American states amid soured ties with the United States. Medvedev paid a visit to Cuba last November, during which he met with the Castro brothers and pledged to promote political and economic ties.

Castro, who arrived in Moscow last Wednesday for a weeklong trip, is the first Cuban leader to visit Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union. His brother Fidel Castro's last visit to Moscow was in 1986.


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