9 Feb 2018 13:27

Cuba fulfilling financial obligations to Russia despite U.S. embargo - ambassador in Havana

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) - Cuba is fulfilling its financial obligations to Russia in spite of the fact that its paying capacity has been limited by the U.S. embargo, Russian Ambassador in Havana, Mikhail Kamynin, told Interfax in an interview on Diplomat's Day.

"Cuba is strictly complying with its financial obligations, although its paying capacity remains limited, among other things, by the U.S. embargo, which is blocking the island's access to international financial and lending resources," Kamynin said.

"Cooperation with Havana in the material area is based on mutual settlements," he said.

Asked whether settlements remain the key problem surrounding car exports to Cuba, Kamynin said, "Naturally, this project has an approved method of payment for deliveries, just like any other commercial contract. The problem of financing has been solved thanks to the Russian Export Center, the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR), and domestic private and government banks which have opened a credit line."

A delivery of 344 Vesta and Largus cars arrived in Cuba in January 2018 after an almost 20-year pause.

"These vehicles will modernize the taxi fleet. There are plans in the future to export AvtoVAZ products for tourist car rentals, as well as to create a broad network of maintenance stations on the island," Kamynin said.

Russia continues to broaden interaction in the political and humanitarian fields and implement long-term, mutually advantageous projects needed by Cuba in the energy, transport, metallurgical, and telecommunication spheres, especially in connection with the ongoing modernization process, Kamynin said.

As to whether Cuba is acquiring strategic significance for Russia in the context of the Western policy of "deterring Russia," Kamynin said, "Cuba was, is, and will be a loyal and trusted friend of Russia. We think alike on global events and assess them in a similar manner," he said.

"I should also say that Cuba is practically the only country that strongly condemns the eastward expansion of NATO and the West's anti-Russian sanctions at high and prestigious international meetings," Kamynin said.