Trade Between Cuba and Russia Grows 17% in 2017, Both Express ‘Serious Concern’ About US Exit from INF


Trade between Russia and Cuba has risen 17 percent in 2017, and steps towards further increases are being taken, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Cuban counterpart Miguel Díaz-Canel during a meeting in Moscow on Friday.

“It is clear that this trade value is still modest in absolute terms, but we know what we should do. That is why I and Díaz-Canel gave the task to the Intergovernmental Committee, which held a session in Havana this week, to develop specific measures to improve flows of mutual trade and investment cooperation,” Putin said.

He specified that Russia and Cuba have a positive experience of energy cooperation.

According to Putin, Russian oil and its derivatives play an important role in the economy of the Caribbean island and guarantee its energy sovereignty.

Diaz-Canel arrived in Moscow on Thursday night. This is his first visit to Russia as President of Cuba.

On Saturday he should meet with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the implementation of large-scale joint projects.

Both leaders also expressed concern about US plans to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

In a joint statement, the two presidents urged Washington to reconsider its position on the issue. The statement was released after a meeting between the two presidents in Moscow during the first visit of the Cuban president to Russia.

“The sides note that this decision by Washington is fraught with very negative consequences for international security and the system of arms control and urge the United States to revise its intentions of withdrawing from this Treaty,” the statement reads.

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Both leaders also stated the intention “to support the initiatives aimed at strengthening the integrity of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, and also at preserving the unity and authority of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and returning its work to the de-politicized course of chemical disarmament in strict compliance with the provisions of the Convention.”

On October 20, US President Donald Trump said that his country would leave the INF because, he said, Moscow is not respecting the treaty.

The Kremlin rebutted the allegations and added that Russia would be forced to take measures to ensure its security should the United States leave the treaty.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement that Washington had handed over to the Kremlin a list of complaints about the implementation of the agreement and that Moscow would be preparing a response.

Putin said Moscow is ready to discuss possible US exit from INF with US allies without hysteria. The Russian president also said he hopes to be able to talk about it during his meeting with Trump in Paris on 11 November.

The INF Treaty was concluded in Washington on December 8, 1987 and took effect on June 1, 1988. The INF Treaty eliminated operational and non-operational medium range (1,000-5,500 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers) ground-launched missiles. The Soviet Union eliminated 1,846 missiles, and the United States, 846, according to TASS.

The United States accused Russia of violating the INF Treaty for the first time in July 2014. Since then, Washington has been repeating these accusations while Moscow has been categorically rejecting them.

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