Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and his Cuban counterpart, Raul
Castro, have opened informal talks at the Russian leader's hunting
lodge outside Moscow.
The meeting at the Zavidovo lodge comes on the eve of formal talks at the Kremlin Friday.
the Cuban leader, Mr. Medvedev referred to Mr. Castro's visit to the
same lodge 25 years ago. He pledged to again treat the Cuban leader to
a walk in the woods and a meal of pork roasted over an open fire.
talks are expected to focus on strengthened ties between the former
Cold War allies. The two countries also are expected to sign several
This is the first trip to Russia by a Cuban leader
since 1986, when Mr. Castro's brother, Fidel Castro, visited Moscow.
Mr. Medvedev traveled to Cuba in November in a bid to build ties in
Last year, Russia signed a $20 million trade agreement with Cuba to expand economic cooperation.
Soviet Union was Cuba's main benefactor during the Cold War, but the
collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 battered Cuba's economy and
strained relations between Havana and Moscow.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.