Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked his Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio for his decision to hand over the Russian pre-revolutionary archives in his country's possession. Addressing Sampaio after the ceremony of signing bilateral documents and handing over some of the archival materials, the Russian president said the Russian side "greatly appreciated this step," which it regarded as a "manifestation of friendly and truly partnerlike" relations between Portugal and Russia. In Putin's opinion, the current visit of the Portuguese leader -- the first after a lengthy break -- will mark the beginning of a new stage in bilateral relations, all the more so since the sides have a good legal base and a series of bilateral agreements signed in the recent years. According to Putin, talks with Sampaio focused on economic cooperation, which the sides have agreed to intensify by drawing in all reserves available. For instance, it was decided to speed up the effort to work out an agreement on protection and encouragement of investments and collaboration in the tourist business, said Putin, who hopes Sampaio's visit to Russia will help streamline bilateral economic cooperation.
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now