Russian Federation Council member urges U.S. to return Guantanamo base to Cuba

The United States should remove Cuba from the list of countries it qualifies as donors of terrorism and return the Guantanamo military base to Cuba, says Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee, who is leading a delegation of Federation Council members visiting Cuba.

The United States should remove Cuba from the list of countries it qualifies as donors of terrorism and return the Guantanamo military base to Cuba, says Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee, who is leading a delegation of Federation Council members visiting Cuba.

Speaking to students of Havana University, Kosachyov suggested that Washington should lift the economic embargo from Cuba.

"This is economic war that the U.S. has been waging against the Island of Freedom [Cuba] for more than half a century now. The White House should also remove Cuba from the so-called list of donors of terrorism, on which the U.S. Department of State has put it unilaterally, without slightest reasons. And, certainly, Washington should return the Guantanamo military base to Cuba without any preconditions," he said.

There are no legal, political, or historical grounds for the U.S. to use this base nowadays, he said.

"And the first step on this way, which [U.S. President Barack] Obama promised long ago, is the closure of the notorious U.S. prison in Guantanamo. This must be done immediately and without any reservations," Kosachyov said.

Speaking about the upcoming opening of Cuba's diplomatic mission in the U.S., the Russian politician called for both sides to strictly abide by international law regarding the Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations as the basis on which the two countries should develop their relations.

"This should also include an important issue of ensuring conditions for providing current financial services to the Cuban Interests Section in Washington," he said.

"The progress in Cuban-U.S. relations is only the first step toward a full detente. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that attempts to put pressure on Cuba won't be stopped at this," he said.

"Judging by remarks in Washington, there is the goal of affecting Cuba in some way so as to change its political system; at the same time, the arsenal of means to make this effect can vary from tough pressure to soft power instruments," Kosachyov said.

Russia firmly supports Cuba, Kosachyov said. "Your example also inspires us a lot in the current situation, amid attempts to use economic blackmail, blockade, and isolation to force our country to stop defending our interests and rights and freedoms of Russian people in other countries," he said addressing Cuban students.

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