The recent trend for closer relations between Russia and Europe provides favourable opportunities for both sides. Such an opinion was expressed Saturday by Portugal's President Jorge Sampaio during his meeting with students and professors of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). According to Jorge Sampaio, this issue was in the focus of his meeting with Vladimir Putin. Closer ties between Russia and Europe will let the latter "expand the space governed by the principles of cooperation, security, stability and peace," whereas Russia will be able to consolidate its internal consensus with regard to its pro-European policy and further development of the free market economy, Portugal's President said. According to him, as a result, both sides will gain good opportunities for developing a bilateral strategic partnership and establish strong long-term relations based on mutual interest, friendship and common values. In Jorge Sampaio's opinion, Russia's EU-supported accession to WTO, will allow the Russian economy to fully integrate into the global economic system. It will also boost the trade turnover between Russia and Europe, encourage Europe's investment in Russia and, eventually, will bring about emergence of the unified European economic environment. Portugal's President pointed out that Russia plays a fundamental role in such areas as disarmament, control over conventional arms exports, and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In view of that, mutual consultations aimed at working out a common position on these issues should be intensified, particularly in the framework of Russia's relations with the European Union.
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