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Russia will help Cuba establish a training center for defense and emergencies services specialists,Russia's emergencies minister said.

Sergei Shoigu, who is currently on a working visit in the Cuban capital
Havana, said he had signed a memorandum and a plan on cooperation with
Cuban Civil Defence Chief Ramon Pardo Guerra on Thursday.

"The main point of the plan is the establishment of an training center,"
the minister said, adding the center is intended not only for training specialists, b
ut also for providing a "fast response to various emergencies."

The minister said the center, expected to be established by 2010, will
prepare a wide range of specialists, including rescuers, firemen and
divers, as well as civil defense specialists.

Shoigu also said Russia will help Cuba modernize its meteorological and
seismological systems.

Cuba, located across the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico, is prone to
frequent hurricanes. Three storms devastated the Caribbean island last
summer, causing more than $10 billion in damage.

The Cuban Civil Defense System is one of the main bodies saving lives during hurricanes and has been capable of timely responding to emergencies.


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