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Relations among presidents are crucial to good relations among states - Medvedev

Published time: June 23, 2010 13:06
Edited time: June 23, 2010 13:06

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev said he would like to continue a dialogue with President Obama and strengthen positive tendencies that the parties have achieved.

Speaking of his expectations for his upcoming visit to the US later this month, he stressed that would like to consolidate the positive trends that have formed in Russian-American dialogue.

It is no secret, he said, that several years ago Russian-American relations fell to a very low point, “Almost to the level of the Cold War.”

However, Medvedev noted, lately the two states have managed to restore fully-fledged communication and achieve a number of results, such as, for instance, the signing of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

“I have always maintained that relations between presidents are necessary for good relations between states, but they are not enough,” he said. Everything will be a success only if there is also a state will, support of other powers, society, and business.

Read the transcript of President Dmitry Medvedev’s interview to the Wall Street Journal

Only balanced measures can help the EU

In the interview, Medvedev also shared his view on the EU strategy to help out weak economies and commented on whether Russia is ready to take part in these efforts.

In particular, Medvedev spoke about the controversial bail-out plan, that will cost almost a trillion dollars, aimed at rescuing indebted European economies, primarily Greece, before they sank the rest of Union. The president said such measures are helpful, but only if applied carefully.

“You can’t destabilize economies; you can’t extend aid blindly in a situation where all has been lost anyway. You have to be sober in your reasoning,” he noted.

"Yet, on the other hand, you should take some reasonable measures to support a number of weak economies in order to save the general idea. And the general idea is the common European market and the common supranational European currency, the euro,” said Dmitry Medvedev.

“So, I think you shouldn’t contrast these things. Yet, indefinite solidarity and ineffective aid is, of course, a dangerous strategy. Eventually, it can undermine anything, even the European Union. Then even those countries that are not in danger today may face problems with solvency later,” added the President.

Earlier this month, Medvedev paid an official visit to Germany to discuss a wide range of issues, including the economic situation.

"The whole discussion revolved around the question of what you are for – stability or solidarity. That's the division in a series of European countries," he said of the talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Implementing the recommendations of other countries or the European Commission, even the smartest ones, is very difficult, especially if thousands of people are out in the streets demanding the dissolution of parliament or the ouster of the government," Medvedev said.

Failure of euro cannot be ruled out

The Russian President voiced his concerns that the current situation in Europe might be viewed as a second aftermath of the 2008 crunch. According to Medvedev, under the given circumstances, there is no question of the failure of the euro, yet this possibility cannot be ruled out completely.

"I don't exaggerate the threat, but it can't be underestimated," said Medvedev.

Medvedev said Russia is closely watching the situation in Europe.

“Russia's prosperity, to a large extent, depends on how well things are going on the European continent," said the President in his interview to the newspaper.

However, when asked if Russia would consider helping struggling European economies in case the crisis in Europe deepens, the Russian President answered that such help may come only as co-operation in some projects done together with the weak economies.

“Speaking about direct financial injections, it is desirable that these should be made by the EU partners,” concluded the President.

No need to send Russian peacekeepers to Kyrgyzstan

The Russian President called the situation in turmoil-torn Kyrgyzstan “extremely difficult, I would even say tragic”.

The former USSR republic in Central Asia is Russia’s “strategic partner”.

“Kyrgyzstan, let me remind you, is a member of Eurasian Economic Community, a party to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which means we are allies. But this internal political instability and the desire for solving all the problems by such a quick change of the entire political pack has once before played a bad trick to Kyrgyzstan,” he said.

However, currently President Medvedev sees no need to send Russian peacekeepers to the country.

“As for appeals [by Kyrgyzstan] to use a Russian peacekeeping contingent, at least right now I see no necessity for that. Our Kyrgyz partners have retracted their request, because, in fact, they should sort the situation themselves,” Medvedev said. “It is an internal problem. I hope they will manage to solve it. But time will show.”

Manas Air Base should not be in Kyrgyzstan forever

President Medvedev said that the US military base in Kyrgyzstan – a key transit point for supplies for the Afghan war – should not be viewed as a permanent installation, and “should complete their work after respective operations are finished.”

”And that is a question for discussion,” he added.

”In any case, we do co-operate with the United States on Afghanistan. You know perfectly well that we have allowed both military and non-military transit. From our point of view we do all we can in what refers to support US and some other countries in their mission to bring order in Afghanistan,” Medvedev stressed.

“It is up to the Kyrgyz leadership to decide on the fate of the base. Let them decide,” Medvedev underlined.

The president added that he has never been against American base “since that base is on the territory of Kyrgyzstan. I am not the Kyrgyz president, but I am the president of Russia,” he said.

The American Manas transit base in Kyrgyzstan is used by NATO to supply its Afghanistan operation. The previous government of the country had threatened to shut down the base, but the Pentagon offered higher rent, and it was kept operational.

On relations with Putin

Answering the question on how his relations with Vladimir Putin have changed over the past several years, Medvedev said, “Formally, of course they have changed, since I am the president and he is prime minister.”

According to the Constitution, he said, “the president is the head of state and supreme commander in chief”. The prime minister, Medvedev went on, deals with economy.

“If it is the personal factor we are talking about, our relations, perhaps, have not changed at all. We meet regularly and discuss quite a lot of varied issues. In other words, formally our relations have changed significantly, but from the personal point of view, I hope, there have been no changes.”