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President Vladimir Putin addressed the Second Poland-Russia Economic Forum

January 17, 2002, Poznan

Russia, as it entered a new level of relations with Poland, viewed the relationship as strategic and long-lasting, President Putin said. According to him, Poland had never been a mere neighbour for Russia – it had always been the most sought-after partner in the widest possible range of fields. On the whole, Mr Putin stressed, both countries are interested in cooperation on the European continent and the establishment of a secure and stable area there.

President Putin noted that Poland’s entry into the EU in two years’ time could open up new avenues for Russian–Polish cooperation as long as Russia maintained its national interests.

Russia and Poland already have many concrete cooperation projects in hand, the President said. Above all, these are energy projects, which he described as a strategic area of cooperation. Among others President Putin singled out the modernisation of enterprises built on Polish soil with Soviet aid, and transport, automobile and rail projects. He also described as very important the construction of the Kaliningrad-Elblong highway and the second power-generating unit in the Kaliningrad Region.

The Polish President also urged businessmen of both countries to work closely together. He indicated that with too many things over-looked in previous years in relations between the two countries, there was a lot to be done now. Mr Kwasniewski believed that Russia and Poland played an important role in Europe and the future of the whole continent depended on the scale of their cooperation.

January 17, 2002, Poznan