Leaked cables show 'cynicism' of US diplomacy: Medvedev
The US cables released by the WikiLeaks website display the "cynicism" of US foreign policy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.
"We are not paranoid. We do not tie Russia-US relations to any leaks," Medvedev said during a televised press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
"But at the same time, these are indicative," he added.
"They show the entire extent of the cynicism of these evaluations, these judgements, that prevail in the various governments' foreign policies -- and in this case I am talking about the United States."
The US cables described Medvedev as a weak leader who has never assumed full control of Russia from his predecessor and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
They quote one source as saying that "Medvedev continues to play Robin to Putin's Batman" and another as describing the Russian president as indecisive and often looking pale.
But Medvedev said that he understood that these things were written in private and that Russian diplomatic correspondence sometimes uses language that is no more forgiving.
"God forbid if there is ever a leak of what our foreign ministry is saying or the foreign intelligence service," Medvedev said.
The US cables are also critical of Berlusconi and his close personal friendship to "his fellow 'tycoon'" Putin.
Berlusconi has said little about the WikiLeaks scandal in public and he dismissed the US cables Friday as unprofessional notes written by people who had little understanding of local politics.
"They take the first thing they see on the front page of a newspaper and transform it into a super-important looking diplomatic cable," Berlusconi said through a Russian translator.
"We should not be attaching too much importance to these things, but they do irritate."
The US cables include one with a set of questions from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton entitled a "request for information on Italy-Russia relations."
Clinton asked about the basis of the leaders' friendship and whether the Italian government had "made decisions to benefit Italian business or commercial interests at the expense of political concerns about energy policy."
Washington appeared particularly concerned by the Italian prime minister's relations with Putin. One Rome embassy dispatch concluded that the relationship has worked to harm the interests of the United States.
Italian foreign policy is "highly receptive to Russian efforts to gain greater political influence in the EU and to support Russia's efforts to dilute American security interests in Europe," the Rome embassy cable said.
© 2010 AFP