Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 99

Kicking off a seven-day visit to Latin America that will also take him to Cuba and Venezuela, Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov met May 20 with Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo and other top officials. The two sides later signed a series of intergovernmental agreements that called for cooperation in combating drug trafficking, in scientific and technological development, in space exploration, and in culture, education, and sports. They were the first agreements concluded between the two countries since 1992. Primakov described Latin America as "a promising commercial and economic partner of Russia," and listed cooperation in advanced technologies, aerospace projects, the gas and mining industries, and nuclear power as areas of potential interest. (Reuter, May 19; Itar-Tass, May 21) According to Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, Moscow also hopes to resume meetings of the Mexican-Russian Joint Commission for Commercial and Economic Cooperation, created before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Trade turnover between the two countries totaled $57 million in 1994. (UPI, May 20)

While in Mexico City, Primakov renewed Moscow’s condemnation of the Helms-Burton bill (which links U.S. relations with third countries to their economic ties with Cuba) and said that Moscow opposes economic sanctions against Cuba. (Interfax, May 21) The Russian foreign minister departed Mexico City yesterday for Havana, where he is to meet with top Cuban leaders.

U.S. Warns Against Missile Technology Transfer to Beijing.