Russia wants to be `in step` with Cuba on US embargo

 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Cuba on Tuesday, saying he was meeting officials there to develop a joint position on the US embargo on the communist island.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 25, 2015, 03:46 AM IST

Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Cuba on Tuesday, saying he was meeting officials there to develop a joint position on the US embargo on the communist island.

Lavrov, the first Russian cabinet member to visit Cuba since Washington and Havana announced they would set aside their Cold War enmity and renew diplomatic ties, met Cuban Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas at the start of a four-country Latin American tour.

"During the visit we intend to discuss regional and international matters... and generally get in step, especially regarding the blockade that continues on Cuba," Lavrov told Cuban state television.

Cabrisas thanked Lavrov for his "support" and Russia`s "demand for an end to the US blockade."

Moscow has welcomed the US-Cuban rapprochement but called for an immediate end to the more than five-decade-old embargo, which President Barack Obama needs Congressional approval to lift.

Before leaving for Havana, Lavrov told Russian media that he was "completely convinced that nothing threatens our close strategic relations with Cuba."

Moscow and Havana were close allies for three decades until the fall of the Soviet Union.

Relations were strained under Russia`s former president Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, but the two countries have renewed political, economic and military ties in recent years.

Lavrov will also visit Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala on his trip.