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Russian leader meets Fidel Castro in Cuba

Friday, November 28, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Friday as the two Cold War allies strengthened their ties, Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency reported.

The meeting came at the end of Medvedev’s Latin America tour which has been seen as an attempt by Russia to flex its muscle in Washington’s traditional backyard by seeking energy, military and trade cooperation across the region.

“This has been a great visit, a magnificent visit,” Cuban President and Fidel’s brother, Raul Castro, told reporters.



Fidel Castro, 82, who ruled Cuba for 49 years before Raul became president in February, has not been seen in public since undergoing surgery in July 2006. But he writes regular newspaper columns and meets with foreign leaders.

No photographs or television images were immediately available of his meeting with Medvedev.

Fidel Castro held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao earlier this month in Havana.

Medvedev travelled to Cuba from Venezuela, where he and anti-U.S. leader President Hugo Chavez oversaw joint naval exercises. The trip came as tensions between Moscow and Washington simmer over U.S. missile defence plans in Eastern Europe and Russia’s brief war with Georgia.