November 30, 2008

On his way back from Havana to Moscow Dmitry Medvedev talked about his impressions of his visits to Latin American countries (Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba).

DMITRY MEDVEDEV:

Dear friends!

I would like to tell you about the impressions I gathered during my trip to Latin America, the decisions that were taken, and our agreements with a number of leading Latin American countries.

Recently the APEC summit took place. It is a continuation of the dialogue and arrangements we embarked on in Washington at the G20 summit. This time the meeting was held in Lima, Peru, and the conversation focused on both the situation in the world at large and that facing the major economies of the Asia-Pacific region. This includes our economy and our country. In this sense, the summit is a continuation of work begun in Washington but on a regional scale. So, part of the decisions taken there already sound quite specific, and have a tangible outcome for countries that operate in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to this significant event, the Russian delegation visited several leading Latin American countries. We visited Peru and then Brazil, the largest Latin American country and where a large proportion of the population of Latin America lives, a country which is part of the so-called BRIC group and is one of the fastest-growing and most vibrant economies in Latin America and the world. We also visited Venezuela (our major trade and investment partner) where we discussed different issues, including energy cooperation, and reached a number of very good agreements with our colleagues. Finally, the trip ended with my visit to Cuba. Cuba is our traditional, long-time partner, and we were able to intensify our cooperation in different fields.

Actually, Latin America is a very special region to which, I have to admit, we have not paid much attention in recent years, and that is a shame. Latin America is the world's fastest growing region, a region which concentrates important intellectual and natural resources. And, most importantly, there live people who want to develop full-value cooperation with us.

I believe that this visit was very useful, all the more so because we were able to renew or better say, restore old relations and to organise new relations with those nations to which we had no previous ties. This is especially important at a time when in general there are very significant security problems in the world.

A few days ago, there was an awful, a barbaric act of terrorism in India. Like other nations, the Russian Federation condemns what happened there. We express our condolences to our Indian colleagues and to all those affected by this terrible terrorist attack. This is why our work must continue, why we must stay in constant contact with all our colleagues from Latin America and elsewhere.

I want to say just a few more words about the results of this visit. You know, there are many very difficult issues on which there are different points of view. But we must learn to hear each other, we must use the experience gained over the past decades, both the positive experiences and the very difficult ones. In this sense, my conversation with Cuban leader Fidel Castro was very interesting for me. This is a politician who has been one of the key political figures in Latin America for fifty years, a man who has lived through a great deal. And of course we must chart our course in light of the experience accumulated by humankind over the past decades. This is what will allow us to prevent political crises and to minimise the consequences of global turmoil, as in the current financial crisis.

Thank you.

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