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Russia’s Payment System Set to Appear 100 Miles Off US Coast

© AFP 2023 / YAMIL LAGEThe sun sets as people enjoy the coast in Havana. File photo.
The sun sets as people enjoy the coast in Havana. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2023
At the G20 ministerial meeting in Delhi, India on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sputnik about Russia’s plans to further facilitate independent payment systems, push for more payments in national currencies and assist in creation of reliable transport corridors to escape the domination of the dollar and the West.
Preparations to launch Russia’s Mir payment system in Cuba are in their final stage, Russian Ambassador to Cuba Andrei Gushkov has said.
“According to the Cuban side, work on the launch of the Mir payment system is close to completion. Its use should have a positive impact on increasing the flow of Russian tourists to the island,” the ambassador told Sputnik in an interview.
“The implementation of independent payment mechanisms is being successfully carried out, which will help protect cooperation with Cuba from the negative impacts of the US’s commercial, economic and financial blockade, and establish links which bypass the financial organizations of non-friendly states,” Gushkov said.
Created in 2015 in response to sanctions and fears that the US and its allies might cut Russia off from the SWIFT system, the Mir payment system is now operational across much of the post-Soviet space, as well as South Korea and Vietnam. Authorities in countries including Ethiopia, Iran, India, Indonesia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Venezuela have either expressed interest in the payment system or launched it on a trial basis.
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Gushkov called Cuba one of Russia’s “key” partners in Latin America, pointing to new joint projects in the energy sector, manufacturing, the modernization of the Antillana de Acero Jose Martie metallurgical plant, and plans for the construction of new capacities at the Maximo Gomez and Habana del Este thermoelectric plants.
The diplomat also pointed to deepening ties with Cuba as a major component of Russia’s “reorientation” away from the West and “towards partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”
“We value Cuba’s role in the formation of a more just and democratic world order. We are actively working together within the framework of the Group of Friends in Defense of the UN Charter, and oppose its replacement by a ‘rules-based order’,” Gushkov said, referencing the term used by the Biden State Department to signal US efforts to preserve a unipolar world order.
The ambassador also pointed to Havana’s position of solidarity with Moscow in assessing the origins of the Ukrainian crisis lying in NATO’s push eastward toward Russia’s borders, and Cuba’s condemnation of manifestations of neo-Nazism around the world.
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“The commonality of our positions on this and many other issues on the international agenda serves as a solid foundation for relations of true friendship between our countries and peoples,” Gushkov said.
Russia and Cuba celebrated 120 years of diplomatic relations in 2022, and came to enjoy very close ties after the Cuban Revolution of 1959, when Fidel Castro and his socialist revolutionaries took power, ousting the long-time US puppet regime of Fulgencio Batista. Cuba was one of Moscow’s key political, military and economic allies during the Cold War. Relations shrunk to a post-Cold War low point in the 1990s after the restoration of capitalism in Russia and its retreat from the world stage, but slowly began to improve again in the 2000s as both countries joined others in the developing world in opposition to US unipolarity.
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