Lavrov rejects Cheney's attack on Russia

Other News Materials 5 September 2008 17:17 (UTC +04:00)

Russia on Friday rejected sharp criticism by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that its intervention in Georgia raises doubts about Moscow's reliability as an international partner.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has rejected criticism by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

In an exclusive CNN interview, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov acknowledged the conflict may have isolated Moscow from the international community. But he said Russia would be ready to work with any U.S. administration on strategic issues like non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Cheney met Thursday with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi and afterward criticized Russian military actions as an invasion of sovereign territory and "an illegitimate unilateral attempt" to change Georgia's borders by force.

"Russia's actions have cast grave doubt on Russia's intentions and on its reliability as an international partner," Cheney said. Video Watch Cheney in Georgia "

Diplomatic tensions between Moscow and Washington have been ratcheting up in recent weeks, with Russia accusing the U.S. of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia for political purposes.

Lavrov downplayed those accusations, laying responsibility for the violence at Saakashvili's feet. Lavrov said he did not believe anyone was able to control the Georgian leader.

Lavrov also backed away from allegations made to CNN by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that U.S. personnel were involved in combat operations against Russian troops in Georgia.

However, Lavrov did issue a warning that the turmoil in Georgia may not be at an end, saying Georgian forces had not confined themselves to areas agreed under the terms of the EU-brokered cease-fire.

Plans by the U.S. and NATO to rebuild the Georgian army, Lavrov added, were troubling.