Russia's Medvedev meets with Fidel Castro in Cuba

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had a "brotherly" meeting with Cuba's ex-leader Fidel Castro, according to an official statement released Friday in local media,

Castro and Medvedev met Thursday night "in a brotherly and friendly atmosphere," the statement said, and discussed agreements signed on the three-day visit which was focused on trade and energy talks.

The two also discussed rising food prices and world hunger, environmental issues, and the threat of climate change, it added.

Earlier Thursday, Medvedev had met with current President Raul Castro -- who assumed power when his aging brother Fidel stepped aside in 2006 -- to sign 10 bilateral agreements, the details of which were not disclosed.

Moscow was Cuba's main ally and source of economic support for three decades until the collapse of the Soviet Union, but now ranks only ninth as a trading partner, with just $224 million in trade in 2011.

As part of Cuba's bid to tap undersea oil wealth, Russia's Zarubezhneft is drilling the communist island's deepest offshore well yet with a Norwegian-owned Songa Mercur rig.

The oil exploration is crucial for Cuba, which relies heavily on close ally Venezuela and its leftist President Hugo Chavez for cut-rate supplies.