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    "BRIDGE" BETWEEN PORTUGAL AND RUSSIA IS THE BEST GUARANTEE OF COOPERATION IN EUROPE

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    MOSCOW, March 2, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Portugal have a special responsibility for European future, Russian acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said at the talks with Portuguese Defense Minister Paulo Portas on Tuesday.

    According to Ivanov, Russia and Portugal are situated on the opposite sides of the European continent. "Therefore, a bridge between Russia and Portugal is the best guarantee of cooperation in Europe," he noted.

    "We are undergoing a very important stage of the formation of the new European security architecture," therefore the dialogue with the Portuguese defense minister on these problems is significant, he said.

    In his words, the Russian side is satisfied with the development of Russian-Portuguese relations and Paulo Portas' visit to Moscow confirms that our relations are becoming more multifaceted.

    "Our countries solve common problems aimed at countering new threats and challenges, first of all, the fight against international terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are ready for cooperation with our Portuguese partners both at the bilateral level and within international organizations, such as the UN, NATO, the EU and others," Igor Ivanov said.

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