Following the ceremony of signing bilateral documents this Friday, the presidents of Russia and Portugal noted the importance of the OSCE in the system of international institutions. Putin said, in part, "The more harmony there is in European relations and on the world scene, the more chances the OSCE has to handle matters it was set up for and to assume a fitting place in the system of international institutions." It is always possible for different states to find spheres of cooperation, according to Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio. He believes that all have to realize above all that the world has entered into a new phase of its development. Portugal is a reliable supporter for cooperation between Russia and the European Union and looks forward to its new spiral, said Jorge Sampaio. Portugal sets major store by inter-European contacts, feeling major responsibility for its future presidency in the OSCE with the intention to return this organization its former strength, continued the Portuguese president. He wished the Russian president would visit Portugal in 2002 precisely when Portugal assumed OSCE chairmanship.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea