Brazil, Spain offer humanitarian aid to Cuba, Haiti, Honduras

The governments of Brazil and Spain will give humanitarian assistance to Cuba, Haiti and Honduras, which were deeply affected by hurricanes Ike, Gustav and Hannah in 2008, the Brazilian Foreign Relations Ministry said on Friday.

Brazil will donate 44,400 tons of rice to the three countries -- 19,400 tons will be sent to Cuba, 15,000 to Haiti and 10,000 to Honduras, Xinhua reported.

Brazil will also donate 1,105 tons of powdered milk and 4,500 tons of fruit seeds and vegetables produced by family farms.

The Spanish government will provide transportation for the products and their subsequent distribution.

Brazil and Spain's joint action was preceded by three months of negotiations after an initial agreement between Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero during the Ibero-American Summit in El Salvador in October last year.

It is the first time Brazil and Spain have joined hands to aid other countries. The move is seen as part of efforts to improve strained diplomatic relations between the two countries after several incidents of deportation of Brazilian citizens from Spain, and reports of mistreatment of Brazilian citizens at Spanish airports last year.

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