Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (L) welcomes Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Havana on 20 April 2023. EFE/Ramón Espinosa/Pool

Russia’s Lavrov criticizes US rules during Cuba visit

Havana, Apr 20 (EFE).- The United States is trying to impose its vision on the rest of the world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said here Thursday.

The foreign ministers of Cuba, Bruno Rodriguez, and Russia, Sergei Lavrov, preside over a meeting in Havana on 20 April 2023. EFE/Ramón Espinosa/Pool

Lavrov, who faced reporters after talks with Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, said that international relations cannot continue to operate on “rules established” by Washington.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodríguez take part in a meeting in Havana on 20 April 2023. EFE/Ramón Espinosa/Pool

“If you are asking about Russian-US relations, we do not have any concrete relations right now. We only discuss the problems that arise in the work of our embassies out of necessity,” Moscow’s top diplomat said in response to a question from a journalist.

Lavrov, who arrived in Havana late Wednesday, also met with President Miguel Diaz-Canel and predecessor Raul Castro, Cuban state media said.

Rodriguez said on Twitter that he and Lavrov discussed ongoing joint projects as well as “prospects for the effective participation of Russia in Cuba’s Plan for Economic-Social Development.”

Other topics on the bilateral agenda include the provision of Russian oil to Cuba, the rescheduling of Cuban debt, Moscow’s opposition to the decades-old US economic embargo against the Communist-ruled island, and Havana’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, Rodriguez said in regard to Ukraine that “the expansion of NATO, which continues today toward Russia’s border, is the principal cause of the current conflict in Europe.”

The Cuban foreign minister called for “a serious, constructive, and realistic diplomatic solution” to the crisis.

He said that Cuba’s prime minister, Manuel Marrero, will travel to Russia in June to “deepen traditional ties between the two states.”

The first official act of Lavrov’s eighth visit to the island was laying a wreath at the monument to Cuban independence hero Jose Marti.

Cuba is the last stop on a Latin American tour that previously took him to Brazil, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

Havana and Moscow have sought in the last few years to restore the close relations that existed prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Russia is one of Cuba’s top 10 trading partners and both governments characterize their connection as “strategic.”

Last November, Diaz-Canel made a trip to Moscow for intensive talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In recent months, Cuba has received visits from the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev; the chair of the Cuba-Russia Business Council, Boris Titov; and the CEO of state oil company Rosneft, Igor Sechin. EFE lbp/dr