Castro Gets Nostalgic Lunch

APCastro taking a plate of fried lard from Medvedev in Zavidovo on Thursday.
Cuban President Raul Castro was served salted boar's fat and vodka on Thursday in a nostalgia-tinged lunch at a former Politburo hunting lodge he and his brother Fidel visited two decades ago.

"I recalled with nostalgia the moment when we roasted salted salo in the forest," Castro told President Dmitry Medvedev.

"I don't know if I will eat salo with brown bread this time, but I am here," Castro said as the two sat in front of a fireplace in Zavidovo, a presidential residence in the Tver region west of Moscow previously used by Soviet leaders.

During the Cold War, Cuba was a key ally for Moscow in its standoff with the United States, and Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul, then an aide, were frequent guests at the Kremlin and the Zavidovo lodge.

"I am very glad to see you not only in Russia but in this forest location where you have been before," Medvedev told Castro on Thursday. "It was a long time ago, and we are very glad that your visit is taking place after practically 25 years."

In November, Medvedev visited Havana for talks with Raul Castro and a brief meeting with ailing Fidel.

Formal talks will take place on Friday in the Kremlin. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia and Cuba plan to sign a series of agreements.