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Russia's Medvedev Visits Fidel Castro in Cuba


Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has met in Cuba with the island's former president, Fidel Castro, capping a four-nation tour of Latin America in a bid to bolster ties in the region.

Mr. Medvedev met privately with the 82-year-old Castro for more than an hour Friday. Russian officials say Mr. Medvedev and the former Cuban president discussed relations between their countries and international policy. No further details of the meeting were released.

Earlier, the Russian leader laid a wreath at a monument to Soviet soldiers with Mr. Castro's brother, current President Raul Castro.

On Thursday, Mr. Medvedev and Raul Castro met privately and also with delegations from each country. They visited a monument to Cuba's independence hero Jose Marti and a recently inaugurated Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Mr. Medvedev was visiting Cuba to revive ties with the former Soviet Union's Cold War ally.

The Soviet Union was Cuba's main benefactor during the Cold War, but the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991 battered Cuba's economy and strained relations between the two countries.

Russian officials said Mr. Medvedev's tour, which also took him to Venezuela, Brazil and Peru, was meant to boost trade, not provoke the United States in its sphere of influence.

The Russian president's visit followed a recent trip to Cuba by Chinese President Hu Jintao. Mr. Hu and Raul Castro, both communist leaders, discussed strengthening relations between the two countries.

Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba for nearly five decades, has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency surgery in July 2006. Raul, who served as interim leader, became president in February.


Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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