Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov visited Spain and Portugal in the beginning of this week, which seemed to be a common event. This is a duty of a foreign minister – to travel to other countries. But Madrid and Lisbon were not selected incidentally. Both Spain and Portugal have the new roles now: Spain is at the head of the European Union and Portugal is the head of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Therefore, the contacts with the representatives of these countries are extremely important for Moscow, since Russia is interested in the expansion of cooperation.
It should be mentioned that Igor Ivanov touched upon the most relevant issues in the beginning of the negotiations with the Foreign Minister of Spain, Josep Pique - the concept for the establishment of the joint European economic space, the continuation of the dialogue on the energy issues, the issue of Russia’s membership in the WTO. So the dialogue between the EU and Russia is basically an economic subject, which does not mean, of course, that all the political issues have been settled.
The main problem is still the elaboration of the mutually-acceptable ideas about the European security. If this issue does not have its decision, then the cooperation between Russia and the EU is not going to be stable and long, in spite of the fact that both Russia and the EU are interested in it.
The relations between Russia, Spain and Portugal can be characterized as non-conflict, stable ones. Spain’s attitude to Russia’s campaign in the republic of Chechnya is rather constructive, since Spain suffers from the ETA terrorist group from time to time, and that attitude is different from what some of the PACE deputies have to say on the subject. Someone may recollect the story with the Russian media oligarch, Vladimir Gusinsky, but these are the relations between the law-enforcement and judicial systems of both countries. In addition to that, the story with Gusinsky does not have anything to do with the visit of the Russian foreign minister to Spain.
Igor Ivanov touched upon the problem of the Kaliningrad region in Russia in connection with the fact that Poland and Lithuania are soon going to join the European Union. On the whole, Igor Ivanov’s visit to Spain and Portugal can be considered as a relevant constituent for the preparation of the Russia-EU summit that is to take place in May of this year.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov