Thursday, May 4, 2006

From the “Okay….” Files

From the Sun-Sentinel:

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Vice President Dick Cheney, in remarks that caused a stir in neighboring Russia, accused President Vladimir Putin Thursday of restricting the rights of citizens and said that “no legitimate interest is served” by turning energy resources into implements of blackmail.

“In Russia today, opponents of reform are seeking to reverse the gains of the last decade,” Cheney told a conference of Eastern European leaders whose countries once lived under Soviet oppression, and now in Russia’s shadow.

[…]

He said Russia has a choice to make when it comes to reform, and said that in many areas, “from religion and the news media to advocacy groups and political parties, the government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of the people.”

Other actions “have been counterproductive and could begin to affect relations with other countries,” Cheney said, mentioning energy and border issues.

“No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation,” he said.

“And no one can justify actions that undermine the territorial integrity of a neighbor, or interfere with democratic movements.”

He was followed at the podium by Michael Jackson, who spoke at length about child care and teen mentoring.