Putin blasts USA after Greek talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a stinging attack yesterday on US «imperialism» moments after holding a meeting in Moscow with Greek President Karolos Papoulias during which the two men confirmed stronger ties between Greece and Russia. Putin told reporters that Washington had led an effort to make the world «unipolar» in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. «There was a desire among several international actors to dictate their will to each and everyone and to act not in accordance with the norms of international life and law,» Putin said. «This is very dangerous and unhealthy… In our view it is nothing other than diktat, than imperialism,» he added. A day after Moscow tested a new strategic ballistic missile, the Russian leader also accused the USA of sparking a new arms race between the two countries. «We are not the initiators of this new round of the arms race,» Putin said, highlighting Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2002 from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which limited the deployment of missile defenses. Putin is due to meet with US President George W. Bush at the G8 summit in Germany next week and will also travel to Washington at the beginning of July. Speaking during a dinner held in his honor by Putin, the Greek president appeared to pick up on his counterpart’s comments and emphasized the importance of Russia to global stability as he urged Moscow to seek dialogue with the West. «The strategic alliance between the EU and Russia is one of the foundations of the world stability and peace,» said Papoulias. «We support the strengthening of the cooperation between NATO and Russia, while also displaying extra sensitivity to your concerns.» «Political dialogue through the NATO-Russia Council is the main vehicle for clearing up and reaching agreement on current security matters,» Papoulias said. Putin emphasized that Russia’s dispute with NATO over missile defense systems had not damaged its relations with Greece. «We have developed ties in the sensitive areas of technical and military cooperation, which is a matter of trust, not just economic dealings,» said the Russian president. «There are no problems between our two countries,» said Papoulias, emphasizing the importance of the agreement to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. «There is heartfelt understanding and a desire for relations to continue on an upward curve.»

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