Moscow Trying To Defuse Scandal Surrounding Closure Of Russian Radio-electronic Surveillance Center In Cuba

Moscow hopes that the closure of the Russian Radio-Electronic Surveillance Center (RESC) on Cuba will not tell on bilateral relations, stated on Thursday Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. Speaking about the Cuban disagreement with the decision of the Russian side, he stated that the aforementioned issue "was discussed with our Cuban colleagues a long time ago, and the decision taken could not be unexpected." The official spokesman stressed that "consultations are held on a continuous basis on various channels." The diplomat particularly emphasized that "Russia did not want this step to tell on the Russian-Cuban relations, which were rapidly developing on the basis of high-level agreements." "This also refers to our bilateral military-technical cooperation," Yakovlenko stressed. The Cuban government expressed its concerns about the closure of the Russian RESC in Lourdes. The official statement of the Cuban government distributed by the Cuban embassy in Moscow reads that the decision to close the RESC on the Cuban territory was made at an inappropriate moment when "aggressive and belligerent American policies threatened the security of many states including Cuba," as well as in the light of the American operation in Afghanistan. The Cuban authorities believe that "the closure of the RESC is a message and concession to the United States" and is "a serious threat to the Cuban national security." In this connection, "we do not agree with such a decision," the statement reads. Havana believes that "the agreement on the RESC is not canceled because Cuba did not consent to the decision and finds it necessary to continue negotiations with the Russian government on the grounds that there still remain important issues to be discussed." The Radio-Electronic Surveillance Center was established in Cuba in 1964 two years later after the Caribbean crisis. Till 1992 the lease of the base located on the Cuban territory was not remunerated.

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