Putin urges closer ties on terrorism, trade with Spain
9 February 2006
MADRID — Russian president Vladimir Putin asks Spain for closer cooperation with Russia in the fight against terrorism and through trade.
Putin, who arrived in Spain on Wednesday for a two-day visit, told Spanish deputies his country should significantly improve the quality and volume of its economic relations with Spain.
Putin said trade between the two countries stood at EUR 3 billion, much lower than that with other European Union countries.
“We have great capabilities, but we are not working at full [capacity],” Putin said.
He said the countries could improve their economic relations in transportation, communications, high technologies and space cooperation.
He also said Spain could play an important role in the improvement of relations between Russia and the EU, with which Russia is trying to create a single security space and initiate other joint projects.
The Russian president also took the opportunity to touch on terrorism, a burning subject at home for Putin and one that has also had grave effects in Spain after the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191.
“The people of Russia and Spain know what it [terrorism] is,” Putin said.
“With pain in [our] hearts we followed events in Spain during the terrorist attacks.”
In light of this, he stressed that cooperation between Russian and Spanish special services and law enforcement bodies is constantly developing.
“I am asking the [Spanish] parliament’s members to support the development of this cooperation,” Putin said.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Putin are due to sign a deal to improve cooperation to combat the rising number of Russian mafia organisations in Spain.
A police report recently said there were at least 34 mafia gangs operating across the country.
Putin was also due to meet Spanish industrial leaders before flying back to Moscow.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news