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Question: Cuba and Russia have experienced various periods in their relations, including a romantic perception of the Cuban revolution, followed by the Caribbean Crisis that cooled off bilateral relations somewhat. From what we were told, Fidel Castro was offended when his opinion was not sought as Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy made decisions. Khrushchev tried to patch up relations during Castro’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1963, and then relations began to develop more or less normally. Russia was struggling in 1991, but so was Cuba. What is happening today?
I’d like to thank the Valdai Club for its attention to the urgent issues of world politics.

I think that the authoritative audience that gathered here, just as at the club’s previous events, is highly interested in seeking opportunities to improve Russia-West relations.
Question: Yesterday you met with Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. US Secretary of State John Kerry met with him shortly before. Active diplomatic work is underway. What can you tell us about the next steps and dates of new meetings on Syria at the Geneva talks and with the involvement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG)?
Sergey Lavrov: I believe the Geneva round will be resumed this month. At any rate, this is what Staffan de Mistura is planning, and we are actively encouraging him to do so. After the January round was effectively disrupted, the opposition calling itself the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) slammed the door, because its ultimatum on the premature decision on the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not carried out.
The Normandy format ministerial meeting has come to an end. Of course, we discussed the implementation of the Minsk Agreements in keeping with the understanding on the sequence of steps that was reached on October 2, 2015, when the four leaders of the Normandy format countries – the presidents of Russia, France and Ukraine and the Federal Chancellor of Germany – met in Paris.
Today we spent much time discussing security issues, namely the implementation of decisions that were adopted on the back of the Minsk Agreements calling for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry and weapons of less than 100mm calibre.
Question: Algeria is a top consumer of Russian arms. In 2006, it concluded a contract worth $7.5 billion on the supply of different types of armaments. However, our civilian economic ties have never reached a comparable level. The share of Russian investors in Algeria remains insignificant. How can you comment on this fact?
Sergey Lavrov: Military technology cooperation remains a driver of cooperation between our countries. The Mixed Russian-Algerian Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Technical Interaction is in charge of our work in this area.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today we held the third session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum that was established in 2009. 
We endorsed a detailed statement that will be published and a plan of action to implement the principles, goals and tasks of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum in 2016-2018. In these documents we set forth the joint approaches of Russia and the Arab League to the most urgent international issues, primarily, the crises in the Middle East and North Africa.
We have completed the working part of our visit to Turkmenistan, which included a lengthy discussion with Turkmenistan’s President, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, as well as detailed and meaningful talks with Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov of Turkmenistan.
Mr Berdimuhamedov, thank you for the hearty and warm welcome and your traditional hospitality, which we always associate with Ashgabat.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin sends his warm regards. He has asked me to convey his pleasure about the meeting you had at the summit of the gas exporting countries in Tehran in late November and to tell you that he looks forward to future meetings, all the more so since you stated that some elements of the nascent positive trends in our relations should be strengthened.
I’d like to say that I’m satisfied with the talks I had during my meeting with the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. We discussed all the fundamental aspects of our ongoing cooperation and the agreements reached by the presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan, including those secured at their meeting in Tehran in late November 2015. We pointed to the major progress that has been achieved in bilateral trade and economic cooperation in terms of their results and, most importantly, their potential.