Portugal counts on Russia's support during its chairmanship at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Portugal's President Jorge Sampaio told students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Saturday. He said Portugal, which will take the OSCE chair in 2002, will put on the organisation's agenda the issue of the Cooperative Security Platform which is intended to unite efforts of various organisations and avoid their duplication. Sampaio expressed confidence that "during discussion of the platform we can count on Russia." He said Moscow, as well as the European Union, will become "an indispensable partner in the dialogue on cooperation in protecting security and stability on the European continent." The Portuguese leader emphasised Russia's role in implementing the goals of the OSCE which he described as "the only security organisation which is both pan-European and trans-Atlantic." He said Russia plays a major role in establishing relations between the OSCE and countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea