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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Russia Not to Use Oil Wealth as Political Weapon

Oct. 23, 2007 - Kommersant - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Russia not to use its crude oil and gas reserves as political weapon. Rice expressed her views on the U.S.-Russia’s relations on Monday, at the Office of the Historian's Conference on U.S.-Soviet Relations in the Era of Detente, 1969-1976. “We respect Russia’s interests, but no interest is served if Russia uses its great wealth, its oil and gas wealth, as a political weapon, or that if it treats its independent neighbors as part of some old sphere of influence,” Rice said as quoted at the web of the U.S. Department of State. The democratic reforms in Russia neared Moscow and Washington, but “today, there is, to be fair, still a certain distance between us, and I have long thought that that reason for this difference is rooted in history itself; in different ways that our two nations continue to tell the story of the last decade,” the secretary of state said. The freedom of people to choose government and the freedom of government to choose a route is the source of security rather than the source of the threat, Rice made clear. “Russia has regained some of its strength and its cohesion. But at times, perhaps reflecting the view of the 1990s, we fear that this is sometimes seen in zero-sum terms of another era.” According to Rice, the strong Russia in the 21th century doesn’t mean a country with “a strong center, but with strong, independent institutions: and independent judiciary and legislature, and an independent civil society, with a free media and a vibrant nongovernmental sector.”

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