Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was going to Portugal with "a very good feeling". On the eve of his visit to Lisbon the Russian President gave an interview to the Portuguese mass media.
According to the President, he hasn't been to Portugal before, but he's watched a number of films and read a lot about the country. "It is a country with a prominent history, which contributed greatly to the development of modern civilization," Putin stressed.
According to him, he is going to Portugal with "a feeling that Europe is much wider that it seemed and was presented before." "Russia thinks itself a part of Europe, and, of course, in the framework of today's process of globalization and the events in Europe itself, including consolidation and integration of Europe, we regard each of its parts equally important," noted the Head of State.
Putin said that Russia and Portugal were linked together by long-term and firm relations, which were developing along a dynamic course.
For instance, the volume of trade and economic ties, "though not quite significant today and still unsatisfactory, has increased greatly over the last couple of years, which we regard as a positive sign," Vladimir Putin said.
According to him, energy resources account for almost 90% of the Russian export to Portugal. In this respect the Russian President noted that at present Russia and the European Union were discussing joint steps in the energy strategy.
Political interaction, according to the President, is also at a high level, the Angola crisis settlement is exemplary in this respect.
"We are working together in the well-known international structure and, in my opinion, we not only get along well, but are able to coordinate our efforts. So, I strongly believe that the present-day level of political cooperation lays solid foundation for further development," President Putin said.
According to him, Russia and Portugal "are linked by common interests in the international arena, first of all in Europe, as well as in the rest of the world." "We regard Portugal as our very important partner," emphasized the Russian Head of State.
The meeting between the Russian and the Portuguese authorities is expected to focus, among other issues, on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which Portugal is chairing at the moment. "We share views on the ways of development for this organization, its role in maintaining peace and security in the European continent. It is a very important aspect of our cooperation," the President noted.
While discussing problems of the European integration Russia will be interested in focusing on the issues related to the EU eastward enlargement, which Russia regards its priority.
"We hope that the Portuguese authorities will understand our concerns in this respect." Vladimir Putin said.