Portuguese President To Pay His First Five-day Visit To Russia Lisbon

Portuguese president Jorge Sampaio will arrive in Moscow on Thursday evening for his first five-day official visit to Russia. According to official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko for Russia's foreign ministry, his forthcoming negotiations with the Russian top officials will focus on the pressing internatinoal issues. First of all, under review will be fresh challenges and threats which have recently emerged in the world, and harmonised efforts of the two countries to fight international terror. Russia's foreign ministry believes that the upcoming visit is aimed at boosting the positive dynamics of the traditionally friendly Russo-Portuguese relations. According to the staff of the Portuguese leader, the sides will also discuss upgrading the activities of the OSCE /Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe/--the organisation to be presided over by Portugal in 2002. High on the agenda of the talks will be the development of trade and economic ties, above all the encouragement of the investment and technological interaction. Over the first half of 2001, the trade turnover between Portugal and Russia reached 126 million dollars /Russia's exports stood at 117.8 million dollars, and imports--at 8.2 million dollars/, which is much less than the two countries' potential. It is not by mere chance that the Portuguese head of state will be escorted by the minister of economy, nearly 50 bankers and directors of different companies. Their trip will seek partners in the areas of shipbuilding, civil construction, energy, viniculture, furniture manufacturing, natural cork, automobile spares, wrapping materials, pulp and paper sector, communications, computer science, tourism and various services. Moscow and Lisbon are hopeful that the upcoming visit by Jorge Sampaio to Russia would mark a turning point in the development of trade and economic ties between the two countries. Besides, the talks will touch upon the status of immigrant workers from the former USSR in Portugal. A new law on immigration recently adopted in Portugal granted the majority of Russians with expired visas, working in the civil construction sector, the right to legally stay in the country. Russian and Portuguese experts have drafted a preliminary agreement regulating some aspects of Russian immigrants' life in Portugal.

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