In an article published in a leading Czech newspaper on Monday, Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman announced that today's Russia was a "natural partner" and "friendly country" for the republic. Zeman believes that the Czech Republic should take note of the "deep political and economic changes"" that have recently taken place in Russia. "Russia today is a democratic state," the premier stressed. He believes that it is time for Prague to re-appraise its relations with the country, which have often suffered due to the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet forces. The Czech politician said that last week's visit to Prague by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov had been a "breakthrough." He reminded readers that nine agreements in the "most diverse areas", including the economic, education, transport, military and cultural spheres, had been signed during the visit. Zeman said that the final settlement of Russia's debts to the republic was entirely beneficial for his country. Moreover, this document is a window of opportunity for cooperation on a series of projects, including Russia's gas and goods deliveries to the Czech republic, and the participation of Russian investors in Czech privatization tenders, as well as the insurance of Czech exports to Russia. Zeman praised Russia's involvement in the international anti-terrorist coalition.