By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer
44 minutes ago
MOSCOW - Russia's foreign minister rejected Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism of the Kremlin, saying on Saturday that Moscow expected to be respected as an equal partner in global affairs.
Sergey Lavrov said Cheney's remarks were unfounded, and suggested the U.S. vice president was misinformed, after Cheney said earlier this week the Kremlin was backtracking on democracy and using energy to blackmail former Soviet states.
"I thought that a person who holds such a state job has the entire amount of objective information, but apparently his aides or advisers had let him down," Lavrov said, according to the statement posted on the Foreign Ministry's Web site.
It was the most direct response to Cheney's remarks from the Kremlin, indicating the Kremlin's annoyance and concern about deepening mistrust between Russia and the U.S.
Russian media and analysts have described Cheney's remarks — made during a summit of ex-Soviet republics in Vilnius, Lithuania — as the start of a new Cold War and a reprise of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's 1946 "Iron Curtain" speech, in which he condemned Soviet expansionism in Eastern Europe.
Cheney had criticized the Kremlin for curbing religious and political rights, prompting Lavrov to defend Moscow's actions as an effort to consolidate the nation after years of economic and political chaos following the 1991 Soviet collapse.
"The country was on the verge of breakup," Lavrov said. "The Russian leadership's actions today are aimed at preserving Russia as a single, unified, strong state in the interests of its citizens."
He also said Cheney did not know what he was talking about when the U.S. vice president suggested Russia was using its energy reserves as "tools of intimidation or blackmail."
"We have heard comments like this from the mouths of a politicians of a lower rank, but the vice president of the United States probably should have information that in the last 40 years our country has not once — neither the Soviet Union nor Russia — violated a single contract for the supply of oil and gas abroad," Lavrov said.
Lavrov insisted, however, that Cheney's criticism would not undermine Russia's intention to cooperate with the U.S. in solving global crises.
"I believe that such statements won't undermine efforts that we are making together with the United States, Europe and other leading nations to build a fair world without conflicts, where all nations will be developing in conditions of stability and democracy," Lavrov said.
He said that Russia expected fair treatment in return.
"Russia wants to be and is becoming a sovereign, strong and stable democracy, and expects to be perceived as such and as an equal partner on the world arena without whose involvement it's impossible to solve a single global problem," Lavrov said.
Cheney said Friday he expected the Group of Eight summit of the major industrial powers to take place as scheduled in July in St. Petersburg. "We'll all benefit from a free, open and honest exchange at that conference."
He said his earlier comments about Russia had merely described "the extent to which they seem to resist the development of strong democracies" in Eastern Europe.
- Like that piece of shit Cheney has any right saying anything about anyone. Human rights? Like Cheney even knows what human rights are. What a huge giant FUCKER!!! Piece of advice DICK, unless your shooting some dumb fuck in the face, or resigning, stay the fuck away from the microphone, and cameras, ok?