/ Go to the mediabankRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks at an event dedicated to the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Latin America in Moscow. File photo / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovThe Russian foreign minister announced the tour early last month, praising Latin American countries’ push for what Sergey Lavrov described as the qualitatively “new development of their regional cooperation.”Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov begins his Latin American tour on Monday, during which he is due to visit Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the "busy" agenda of Lavrov’s five-day tour would include negotiations with the foreign ministers of the four Latin American countries.
The top Russian diplomat will meet his Brazilian and Venezuelan counterparts Mauro Vieira and Yvan Gil Pinto, respectively, and is also due to sit down with Cuban colleague Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla and Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada.
‘Spirit of Strategic Partnership’
In his article for the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo and the Mexican magazine Buzos, published last week, Lavrov outlined the topics that will most likely highlight the agenda of his talks with the foreign ministers of the four Latin American nations.He stressed that Moscow “consistently stands for the strengthening of Russian-Latin American cooperation on the basis of mutual support, solidarity and consideration of each other’s interests.”
"It is in this vein, in the spirit of strategic partnership, that our relations with many countries of the region are developing," the Russian foreign minister noted, citing Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
Lavrov stressed that Russia also calls for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to be “strong, politically united and economically stable.”According to him, Russia is ready to further build up various contacts at the level of heads of state and governments, parliaments, diplomatic services, as well as other ministries and departments.
"We are also open to expanding cooperation on a multilateral basis, mainly within the framework of Russia's dialogue with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States," the foreign minister underlined.
As an example of such a collaboration, Lavrov pointed to “the creation of a space for mutual visa-free travel,” which he said currently covers 27 states of Latin America and the Caribbean. According to him, “all of South America and practically all of Central America” became visa-free for Russian citizens.”
‘New Opportunities’ for Bilateral Ties
Lavrov wrote that “the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape opens up new opportunities for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Latin American nations,” adding that the latter are playing an increasingly prominent role in forming the multipolar world order.The minister underscored that the Kremlin perceives Latin America and the Caribbean as “a valuable vector of Russia’s foreign policy” and that Moscow doesn’t want the region to turn into “an arena of confrontation between powers.”
"Our cooperation with Latin American countries are based on de-ideologized, pragmatic approaches, which are not directed against anyone. Unlike the former colonial metropolises, we do not divide partners into friends and foes, and we do challenge them with an artificial choice – with us or against us," Lavrov pointed out.
He also underlined that both Russia and Latin America have “their own competitive advantages in the context of objective processes pertaining to the formation of a multipolar world order.”In this regard, the top Russian diplomat stressed the importance of making maximum use of “the complementary nature of the two’s economies” to create full-fledged technological alliances and shift to national currencies (instead of using the dollar or the euro) when making transactions.
Russian Exports to Latin America on Rise
Despite the West’s anti-Russian sanctions and its political pressure and even blackmail against Moscow, last year saw Russia’s aggregate exports to Latin America and the Caribbean increase by 3.8%, according to Lavrov.EconomyCost of Sanctions? Foreign Firms Suffer $2 Bln Losses After Leaving Russia8 April, 10:55 GMTHe specifically mentioned a rise in deliveries of Russian fertilizers and oil products to the region, adding that in 2022, Russia increased wheat exports there by 48.8%.
Separately, Lavrov touted Russia’s efforts to contribute to resolving "the problems of international development in the region." He added that to help Latin American nations boost civil security, Russian specialists train "professional personnel for national law enforcement agencies," also helping the countries overcome fallout from natural disasters.
“I’d like to especially note the steady growth in the number of Latin American students studying in our country at the expense of Russian state scholarships. Taking into account bilateral interest in strengthening educational ties, we are poised to clinch an array of agreements on the mutual recognition of diplomas,” Lavrov concluded.