President Marcelo “would like to visit Moscow and receive Russian leader Vladimir Putin”

Portugal’s ‘people’s president’ Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has emerged from the UN General Assembly in New York not only as a good sport (click here) but as a man ready to build bridges.

After giving a speech on how he hoped the next UN secretary-general would do just that – in the spirit no less of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela – Marcelo is reported to have given an interview to Russia’s Sputnik news “on the sidelines”, to say he would like to visit Russia and have Russian leader Vladimir Putin visit Portugal.

Says Sputnik: “De Sousa said… ‘We shall try a way to fix a time and make it concrete, either one or the other visits’.”

The president is reported as saying that “Portugal would like to expand its relations with Russia in all areas, including economic and cultural” – particularly as the country has a “very strong Russian community”.

“I see this in a very positive way,” Sputnik quotes the head of state. “Happily we have seen a strengthening of relations between the two countries and I believe they will get even better in the future.”

The Russian news service adds that 2016 marks the 42nd anniversary of the “resumption of diplomatic relations” between Portugal and Russia.

Quoting the Portuguese embassy in Russia, Sputnik concludes: “The two countries continue developing a broad cooperation in all areas, including politics, economy as well as education, culture, science and social exchanges.”

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