The US will expand relations with the new president of Russia- Rice
( AP )- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, en route Monday to meetings in the Middle East, was asked by reporters whether she thought the election was free and fair, and what the U.S. would do from here on out.
``The United States will try to work for a constructive relationship,'' she said. ``We've had a constructive relationship; we're going to try to extend that.''
``You've heard me comment about the general trends in Russia. I don't need to repeat it. And I said not too long ago that we all look forward to the day when there's a contested presidential election in Russia with all the protections that that means,'' Rice added.
Medvedev was elected during weekend voting that observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said was neither free nor fair. Their report said, however, that the exercise reflected the will of the Russian people, who have little faith in democracy.
Opposition was minimal to Medvedev, a Putin assistant whom the president personally tapped to succeed him. Several opposition candidates were not allowed to run.
Neither Casey nor Johndroe would characterize the voting. ``We'll wait to see what these observers have to say,'' Johndroe said.
Casey said the ``election itself proceeded in a peaceful manner. In terms of what our concerns were in it, though, you've heard a lot of discussion in the run-up to that election about the openness of the process and the ability of people outside of the government candidates to make their voices heard.''