Obama raises Russian protests with Medvedev

17th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama Friday raised recent political demonstrations which swept Russia directly with President Dmitry Medvedev and praised his commitment to investigate electoral flaws.

The White House said Obama also congratulated Medvedev in a call on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization, which he said was a tangible result of the "reset" of US-Russia ties pushed by his administration.

The call, and warm words for Medvedev, follow strident recent criticisms of the United States by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is expected to take back his old job as president after elections next year.

The White House said in a statement that Obama raised reports of "flaws in the way the elections were conducted, and welcomed President Medvedev's commitment to investigate these allegations."

"President Obama also noted the peaceful demonstrations held throughout Russia, and praised how Russian government authorities enabled the permissive conditions that allowed these demonstrations to occur peacefully and lawfully.

"President Obama noted how this expression of civil society is consistent with the modernizing Russia that President Medvedev has sought to foster over the last four years," it said.

On Thursday, Putin said he was untroubled by the wave of protests, ruthlessly mocked the opposition and rejected claims of election rigging.

Previously, Putin accused the United States of inciting the unrest after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised concerns about the fairness of elections that his United Russia party won but with a reduced majority.

Putin also issued a tirade against the United States when he accused Washington of orchestrating the mob killing of former Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

US officials have repeatedly stressed the "reset" of relations with Russia is not based solely on Obama's ties with Medvedev and that it will outlast his presidency.

© 2011 AFP

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