US, Europe must confront Russian aggression: Rice

September 18th, 2008 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 18 (DPA) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the US and Europe must “stand up to” Russian aggression and convey to Moscow that it has become increasingly isolated in world affairs.Rice is to deliver a speech in Washington later Thursday on Russia. The speech comes as relations between Washington and Moscow reached the lowest point since the end of the Cold War following Russia’s invasion of Georgia last month.

“We cannot afford to validate the prejudices that some Russian leaders seem to have: that if you pressure free nations enough, ¬≠if you bully and threaten, and lash out we will cave in, and forget, and eventually concede,” Rice says in excerpts released in advance by the State Department.

“The US and Europe must stand up to this kind of behaviour, and all who champion it,” Rice says.

Russia said the US and its European partners must show there is no benefit to aggressive or intimidating tactics against neighbouring countries.

“Not in Georgia not anywhere,” Rice says.

US-Russian relations have worsened in recent years on a number of fronts, including US plans to base a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic and western backing for Kosovo’s independence earlier this year from traditional Russian ally Serbia.

Russia has initiated weapons sales with Venezuela and this month flew Cold War-era bombers to the South American country for military exercises, a move that annoyed Washington.

The US has accused Russia of using European dependence on its natural gas as a political tool to bully former Warsaw pact countries and former Soviet states.

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