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Russia and Latin America: Partners for years to come

Dr Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Deputy foreign minister (2005-2011).

Published time: July 14, 2014 11:25
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin arrive for the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. (AFP Photo / Aleksey Nikolskyi)

The current visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Latin America will become a milestone in Russian-Latin American relations.

The visit is aimed at achieving ambitious agreements on further cooperation in various fields, including energy, health care and military affairs. Russia is interested in developing strategic relations with an independent, united and economically stable Latin America based on mutual benefits and equality.

Latin America is steadily strengthening as an independent center in today's multipolar world. Its weight in the world economy and politics is increasing. In recent years the economic potential of Latin America has reached $3.15 trillion. Its combined GDP growth rate (about 4%) is second only to China and India. In the current turbulent world Latin America appears to be an island of relative stability. This makes the region attractive for partners in terms of trade and investment cooperation.

We believe that all this requires a break with old-fashioned paternalistic approaches to Latin America, which is now offering its own model of democracy, prudent macroeconomic management and increased social responsibility. Against this background, Russia's relations with Latin America have gained a strong positive trend. We were able to overcome the ideological narrow-mindedness of the Soviet era and are now building strategic relations based on an impartial approach and national interests.

Today, cooperation with Latin American states is one of the key lines of Russia’s foreign policy, and a very promising one. We are united by our devotion to the principles of multipolarity in world affairs, respect for international law, strengthening the central role of the United Nations, and ensuring sustainable development. All this makes us natural partners on the international arena and allows us to enhance interaction on a wide range of issues. We are grateful to South Americans for the support of our international initiatives, including outer space demilitarization, strengthening international information security, and combating the glorification of Nazism.

In recent years our countries have reached an unprecedented level of economic cooperation. We are interested in expanding trade and economic interaction, building fully functional projects, industrial, technological alliances with the participation of the region’s countries. The potential of the complementarity of our economies should be used to the full extent, in cooperation on oil and gas, hydro- and nuclear power engineering, airplane and helicopter construction, infrastructure. Good prospects exist in building up cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear energy and space cooperation, including on GLONASS, biopharmaceuticals and information technologies.

Our agenda includes the establishment of a dialogue mechanism between Russia and integration projects in the region, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). A memorandum of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is under preparation. That also includes the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Pacific Alliance, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). However, bilateral ties are to remain the focus of our efforts, in particular with regional leaders and our traditional friends, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Most important of all is the reciprocal benefit that our cooperation brings not only to our governments and businesses, but the peoples, as well as to a stable and prosperous world. This is the most solid foundation for Russia’s varied ties with the Latin American countries.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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