RUSSIA says it is preparing for deployment of a Russian Global Navigation Satellite System ground station in Cuba. Following bilateral talks with his Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel in Moscow on Friday, President Vladimir Putin said with a GLONASS ground station, Cuba would get access to extensive technical capabilities for earth remote sensing and satellite and telecommunications services.
GLONASS is an acronym for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, or Global Navigation Satellite System. GLONASS is Russia’s version of GPS (Global Positioning System).
President Putin said the bilateral talks were detailed, including the participation of key ministers, discussed the entire range of issues related to bilateral cooperation and examined topical matters on the international and regional agendas.
He said he atmosphere of the meeting was friendly, businesslike and constructive.
“This characterises the Russian-Cuban dialogue. Our nations are linked by strong ties of many years of friendship, mutual sympathy, respect, solidarity and support,” President Putin said. “The joint statement we have just signed reaffirms the strategic and allied relations between our counties.”
He said the meeting gave a great deal of attention to economic cooperation, noting that bilateral trade grew by 17 per cent last year.
“Of course, these are modest figures and volumes in absolute terms, but we know what we need to do next. This is why Mr Diaz-Canel and I have instructed the intergovernmental commission, which had a regular meeting in Havana this week, to outline concrete measures to increase bilateral trade and expand investment cooperation,” President Putin said.
He said there was mutually beneficial industrial cooperation. President Putin said Russian companies were involved in the technical refurbishing of Cuban factories that produce metal and nickel products and nitrogen fertiliser.
“We are cooperating on the production of innovative one-of-a-kind medications. Russia is offering Cuba assistance in building transport infrastructure facilities. Today we talked about renovating the Cuban railway system, which should triple passenger traffic and double cargo shipments throughout the country,” he said.
President Putin said the meeting also covered the development of cultural and humanitarian links. He said currently, 250 Cuban citizens are studying at Russian universities.
“Cuba has always been and certainly remains one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists. Last year, about 100,000 Russians visited the republic. In December, an updated intergovernmental agreement will take effect establishing a simplified entry procedure on both sides, simplifying mutual visa requirements,” said President Putin.
And President Diaz-Canel said his visit to Moscow symbolised the continuation and continuity of the Cuban Revolution.
“Being faithful followers of the legacy of Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz and Army General Raul Castro Ruz, we maintain and constantly work to strengthen relations between Cuba and Russia. This alone accounts for the importance of this visit, which, I am confident, will become a milestone in our relations,” said President Diaz-Canel.