Rice sees no reason for 'excluding' Russia from G8
WASHINGTON, March 18 (Itar-Tass) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said she sees no circumstance in which excluding Russia from institutions in which these values (democracy) are paramount (G8 and Russia-NATO Council) is going to have a better impact on the march of events in the country.
Dr. Rice made a statement to this effect at a meeting with university students at Sydney’s town hall. The U.S. Department of State circulated a transcript of Rice’s answers to the audience on Friday.
In response to a question about her attitude to the widely spread opinion in the West about Russia’s departure from democracy Rice said Russia “is not the Soviet Union,” a country she first visited as a student back in 1979.
At the same time, Rice remarked, “I say to my Russian colleagues very often that no democracy survives without checks and balances and countervailing institutions, whether it's a strong parliament or an independent judiciary or political parties. A single strong presidency with no countervailing institutions is a danger to democracy.”
Rice made a reservation, though, that it was not the current Russian head of state that she had in mind.
Calls for turning one’s back on Russian democracy and curtailing cooperation with Moscow in the G8 and the Russia-NATO Council are not something new, the U.S. Secretary of State said.
“I know that there are those who want to give up on Russian democracy, want to say, well, it's all over, it's now gone completely the other way, we ought not have them in the institutions like the NATO-Russia Council or the G-8. My view is that … we have to continue to speak loudly for the development of Russian democracy and to say to Russia that that is what is expected of a country that is a great power and that at least has started down this road,” Rice said.