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Russian President Blasts U.S., Pushes New Security Pact

Medvedev blamed U.S. economic dominance for the current global financial turmoil.
EVIAN, France (Reuters) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Washington had forfeited its place at the heart of the world order and he called on Europe instead to work with Russia on a new security pact.

Medvedev said the United States had taken unilateral steps -- such as its invasion of Iraq, plans for siting a missile shield in Eastern Europe and NATO expansion -- that smacked of a Cold War mentality and created new dividing lines.

"A desire by the United States to consolidate its global domination led to it missing an historical build a truly democratic world order," after the September 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. cities, Medvedev said.

"The Warsaw Pact has not existed for almost 20 years. But unfortunately for us at least, the expansion of NATO is being carried out with particular fervor," he said at an international forum in the French resort of Evian.

"Quite naturally, no matter what is being said, we regard these actions as directed against us."

"That all belongs to the past just as Sovietology does. Sovietology, like paranoia, is a very dangerous disease, and it is a pity that part of the U.S. administration still suffers from it," Medvedev said.

Medvedev's tough speech echoed a similar address in Munich last year by his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, which became a cornerstone of Russia's foreign policy and prompted many Western policymakers to talk of a Cold War atmosphere.

Many observers had predicted Medvedev, a former corporate lawyer who took over from Putin in May, would adopt a more conciliatory approach. But his speech demonstrated he shared his predecessor's stance on foreign policy.

Medvedev suggested the United States' economic dominance had contributed to global turmoil on financial markets.

"Even during the '90s the ineffectiveness of the 'unipolar' economic model revealed itself," he said. "And more recently the weakening dollar has created a whole chain of problems."

Russian stock markets have lost almost 70 percent of their value this year -- a steeper fall than in many comparable economies. Investors blame a knock-on effect from problems on U.S. markets and concerns about political risk in Russia.

New Security Pact

Medvedev said Russia's war with Georgia in August showed that the security mechanism in Europe, based around NATO and the United States, needed to be replaced with a new European security pact and proposed a conference to set it up.

"It should unite the whole Euro-Atlantic region on the basis of common rules of the game," he said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who holds the rotating EU Presidency and was at the Evian forum, became the first European leader publicly to back the idea.

But he told Medvedev the United States could not be excluded. "I don't take instructions from America. But America is our friend and ally," Sarkozy said.

Russia's diplomatic relations with the United States reached their lowest point since the Cold War after Moscow's brief war with Georgia, a U.S. ally.