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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Putin in Portugal for EU Summit

President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, looked forward to a friendly summit with the European Union on the occasion of his second visit to Portugal. Portugal is acting as host for this EU-Russia summit. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin will remain firm on his principled positions to oppose sanctions or military action against Iran and against Kosovo separatism demands.

Ahead of the Lisbon summit, Russia has opposed Kosovo independence as this could easily lead to separatism elsewhere in Europe. Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina urged the EU to back Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, a major topic of discussion for the summit.

A moving welcoming ceremony was held for the Russian President. The square opposite the Jeronimos Monastery, Praça do Império, was lined with an unprecedented number of horses, which are known to be Mr. Putin's great love. After meeting Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, President Putin said, "On many international issues our positions are close.”

"I expect a friendly atmosphere created by our hosts today will translate into a similar atmosphere of the Russia-EU summit tomorrow and will help a productive work," Putin told journalists.

One Portuguese journalist asked if Mr. Putin agrees that relations between Russia and the EU are in their lowest point since the Cold War. "There is no point in continuing to promote these destructive tendencies in Europe, those separatist tendencies that are very damaging for many European countries and also for post Soviet territory."

"I do not think relations with Europe are in a regrettable shape," Mr. Putin said. "There are simply issues on which we disagree. When we discuss things with our European Commission partners, I sometimes get an impression we defend European interests stronger than they."

President Putin met with Portuguese Prime Minister, Jose Socrates, as Portugal presently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Prime Minister Socrates has warned in the past against preaching to Russia about democracy, and President Vladimir Putin had promised not to preach to the European Union about Polish meat. Prime Minister Socrates will try to smooth over differences during Putin's final summit with the EU as Russia's president. Disputes over energy and Russia's ban on the import of Polish meat have prevented Moscow and the EU from starting talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement.