Cheney on Russia, Georgia and Israel; Venezuela-Russia exercises

At the Ambrosetti Forum being held at Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy, US vice president Dick Cheney has made a statement on the current situation in Georgia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Excerpt:

In the space of the last 30 days, Russia has violated the sovereignty of a democracy; made and then breached a solemn agreement, in a direct affront to the European Union; severely damaged its credibility and global standing; and undermined its own relations with the United States and other countries.

This chain of aggressive moves and diplomatic reversals has only intensified the concern that many have about Russia’s larger objectives. For brutality against a neighbor is simply the latest in a succession of troublesome and unhelpful actions by the Russian government.

Haaretz reports that

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney met with [Israel’s] President Shimon Peres on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti forum on the edge of Italy’s Lake Como on Saturday, telling the Israeli leader that Russia is selling arms to Damascus and Iran with the clear knowledge that they are being channeled to Hezbollah and terror groups in Iraq.

The American vice president later reiterated these remarks in his address at the economic conference, saying that “Russian arms dealing in the Middle East has endangered the prospects for peace and freedom in the region.” He added that the Russian leaders view democracy as a direct threat to their regime. Russia crossed a clear line when it invaded Georgia and attacked democracy and the rights of innocent civilians, Cheney said.

Meanwhile, The BBC reports a senior Venezuelan naval officer as saying that four Russian ships will take part in joint naval exercises, which will also involve Venezuelan aircraft and submarines, to be held in Venezuelan territorial waters (i.e. the Caribbean) in November. This can perhaps be seen as Russia’s response, flagged by Putin on September 2, to NATO’s current presence in the Black Sea.


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