MOSCOW, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Russia hopes to expand relations with Nicaragua and other Latin American countries, President Dmitry Medvedev told his Nicaraguan counterpart during a meeting Thursday.
"Russia would like to have fully fledged long-term relations with Latin America, and in particular with such an important partner as Nicaragua," local media quoted Medvedev as saying.
Medvedev also thanked President Daniel Ortega for the recent visit of Russian warships to the Nicaraguan port of Bluefields, saying it was a sign of Russia's regional presence.
The Russian president also said his country is interested in taking part in an inter-oceanic canal project proposed by Nicaragua.
Russia "will study the possibility of the participation of Russian state-run and private companies in the construction of the inter-oceanic canal in Nicaragua," said a joint statement signed after the two leaders talked.
Ortega said he would visit South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two Georgian breakaway regions. "I am sure that we will visit the two fraternal countries in the near future."
Medvedev thanked Nicaragua "for the recognition of the legal existence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia" and also accepted an invitation from Ortega to visit the Latin American country.
Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Aug. 26, two weeks after a brief war with Georgia, which had launched a sudden attack to reclaim South Ossetia.
So far, only Nicaragua has recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.