Medvedev says he forgot US election day

November 16th, 2008 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaMoscow, Nov 16 (DPA) Reacting for the first time to criticism of an anti-US speech on the day Barack Obama was elected president, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he “simply forgot” the US presidential election was taking place.”With every appreciation to the United States, I simply forgot the American elections on Nov 5,” Interfax news agency quoted him Sunday as saying as the financial summit of the G20 countries ended in Washington.

Medvedev announced in a speech on the day of Obama’s victory that Russia was prepared to place short-range missiles in the territory of Kaliningrad in response to US plans for a missile-defence shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Russia’s Baltic Sea port Kaliningrad is isolated from Russia proper and is sandwiched between NATO members Poland and Lithuania.

Western leaders criticized Medvedev for making the confrontational speech on the day when there was almost universal congratulation for Obama.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the speech sent “the wrong signal at the wrong time.”

Medvedev was quoted Sunday as saying the speech had been planned for a long time.

“Then I put it off many times as I was not satisfied with the content,” he said in Washington.

He said that, fundamentally, he viewed relations with the US with optimism.

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