Putin: U.S. opened Pandora’s Box

Russian PM Vladimir Putin says that in recent years Washington has been propagating the rule of force, not international law.

"When we tried to stop the Kosovo solution no one listened to us," Putin said.

"We kept saying: don’t do that, hold on, you’ll put us in a terrible position in the Caucasus. What are we to say to the small communities in the Caucasus? How come Kosovo can get independence and we can’t? You’ll put us in an awkward position," Putin told CNN.

"No one talked about international law back then apart from us, and now, apparently, everyone’s remembered it and for some reason started talking about it," said the Russian prime minister.

"But, who opened Pandora’s Box? Was it us? No, it couldn’t have been us. That wasn’t our decision or policy," Putin said, according to a Russian government statement.

He also said that international law contained the principle of respect for territorial integrity and the right to self-determination.

"Nonetheless, we simply need to agree over the rules of the game. It seems to me that the time has come to finally do so," Putin said.

Talking about Russia’s prestige in the world, the prime minister said that Russia did not like the things that were happening, adding that it had not caused that situation.

"If we are talking about prestige, the prestige of certain other countries has been very seriously undermined in the last few years," Putin said, illustrating it with the example of the U.S. which was promoting "the rule of force and not international law."

[Source: B92, Atlanta, 29Aug08]

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