The talks took place on the sidelines of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council meeting.
Mikhail Mishustin: Mr Prime Minister, welcome to Russia. I am delighted to meet you and to welcome your delegation.
It is your first visit to Russia in the capacity of prime minister. Apart from Sochi, you will visit Moscow and St Peterburg, and will take part in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. I am sure that your visit will give a fresh impetus to Russia-Cuba cooperation.
Mr Prime Minister, please extend greetings and best wishes to President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel on behalf of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and me.
Cuba is Russia’s reliable partner in Latin America. Our cooperation is based on the enduring traditions of friendship, solidarity, mutual respect and trust. We are standing up together against unprecedented sanctions pressure by unfriendly states.
Our governments are working in accordance with the agreements reached by our presidents to boost our trade and economic cooperation in many spheres. Despite the unfavourable international circumstances, our mutual trade last year approached 60 billion Russian roubles or over 20 billion Cuban pesos.
This positive trend has been maintained this year as well. In January through April, our trade increased nine-fold year on year, and we see that it will continue to grow.
It is extremely important to relaunch our cooperation in order to build up trade and investments. This is the responsibility of the Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which is co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko. During the commission’s latest meeting held in Havana, the sides reached practical agreements on finance, industry, energy, transport, culture and humanitarian issues.
We set a high value on the implementation of large joint projects, especially long-term ones. I am referring to projects aimed at enhancing recovery of Cuban oil fields and modernising the iron and steel plant in Havana.
As per the agreements reached at the top level, we are creating conditions for expanding the work of Russian companies in Cuba.
We welcome the decision of your Government to give preferential treatment to Russian businesses in Cuba. I know that our companies are grateful for that decision, and they are adjusting their investment and other plans in accordance with it.
We invite you to more actively develop our tourism cooperation. Aeroflot will resume regular flights to Cuba on 1 July. This will help increase the mutual travel of our citizens, strengthen business and cultural ties, and boost tourism.
Mr Prime Minister, I am ready to discuss all the current issues of our trade and economic cooperation.
Manuel Marrero Cruz (via interpreter): Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister, my esteemed colleague.
We are happy to be in Russia. As you said, this is my first visit to your country as Prime Minister of the Republic of Cuba. I would like to thank you for agreeing to receive us; I realise that you have a lot of work to do and a very full agenda.
We have come with a large delegation and several ministers. Some of the ministers, including the ministers of energy and transport, stayed behind in Moscow to continue our work there. A Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Trade who has been working with Russia for many years is here with us. The First Deputy Foreign Minister, the Director-General of the Special Development Zone, the Minister of Healthcare, the President of the Central Bank of Cuba and the CEO of the largest company, BioCubaFarma, are also here.
In my remarks, I have promised many times to take part in your work within the Eurasian Economic Union. I am keeping those promises today.
I would like to thank Russia and you personally for your support. Russia has accomplished a lot as the union’s interim chair, and I would like to thank you for this opportunity to take part in this event.
We would also like to thank you for the opportunity to become an observer state in the union, which we believe offers many opportunities to its countries and members. It provides businesses with opportunities for commercial and economic exchanges.
In addition to the delegation accompanying me, representatives from the Cuban Chamber of Commerce are here; they are conducting a presentation at this exhibition.
You talked about our relations. It is about the historically established ties between our countries since the days of the Soviet Union. I should say that these relations never ended. Our people have the deepest respect for your people. And I think that today, as our adversaries try to establish complete hegemony around the world, this is the best time for us to work on strengthening our relations.
The United States continues to impose sanctions against our country, with 243 sanctions imposed against Cuba. And now we see how many sanctions the West is imposing against Russia. I would like to state that our Government fully condemns these unfair sanctions against Russia, as well as attempts to isolate Russia from various international forums.
We also condemn the movement that the West is creating, which is nothing but Russophobia. Its main goal is to discredit everything connected with Russia. Therefore, every time we meet a delegation, we reaffirm our position in this regard. I recently commented that after the business forum in Havana, the United States launched an information campaign with endless accusations against us.
We understand that strengthening relations between our two countries is the right way. We are moving along the path of further strengthening economic and commercial relations to the level that our political relations are today. We are very pleased with the results of the latest intergovernmental commission meeting in Havana, where Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko personally took part. More than 30 contracts were signed during the business forum and the commission meeting.
Important agreements will also be signed during this visit as well.
After the latest intergovernmental commission meeting, we launched a very active work in order to accelerate the progress of all our bilateral projects so that they are at the required level.