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Russian President Visits Cuba

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is visiting Cuba to revive ties with the former Soviet Union's Cold War ally.

President Medvedev arrived in the capital, Havana, Thursday on the last stop of a Latin America tour. He met with President Raul Castro and visited a new Russian Orthodox cathedral in Havana. It is not clear whether the Kremlin leader will also meet ailing former President Fidel Castro.

Russian officials say Mr. Medvedev's tour, which also took him to Venezuela, Brazil and Peru, is meant to boost trade. They deny it is meant to provoke the United States in its traditional sphere of influence.

This marks the first visit to Cuba by a Russian leader since 2000, when then-President Vladimir Putin traveled to the island. Russia had been Cuba's main benefactor during the Cold War, but the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 battered Cuba's economy.

Mr. Medvedev traveled to Cuba from Venezuela. On Wednesday, Russia and Venezuela signed a series of agreements, including a deal to work together to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Russian warships that sailed into a Venezuelan port Tuesday are also scheduled to conduct joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy beginning December first.

In Brazil, President Medvedev met with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Both leaders agreed that Russia should host a summit of the world's four leading emerging market nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China next year.

The two presidents also agreed to boost military cooperation and diversify trade. Mr. Medvedev said he hopes to double trade with Brazil in the coming years.

Mr. Medvedev was also in Peru during the recent summit of Pacific Rim countries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.