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US Vice President Slams Russia, Warns About Iran

By Sabina Castelfranco
09 September 2008

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney deplored Russia's military action in Georgia and said Tiblisi has every right to join NATO in the future. Sabina Castelfranco reports for VOA from Rome that Cheney spoke after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

On the fourth and final day of a visit to Italy, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney held talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome and discussed the Russia-Georgia crisis. Cheney traveled to Italy, a staunch U.S. ally, after visiting Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

He made clear that Russia could not behave as it pleased with Georgia.

"The international community is united in deploring Russia's military action and condemning its unilateral efforts to alter by force of arms Georgia's internationally recognized boundaries," said Cheney.

Cheney added that NATO allies agree that both Georgia and Ukraine have every right to strengthen their ties with the West and join the alliance. He also said that Russia's western border has never been safer than it is today because of the success in building democracies across Europe.

The two leaders also discussed Iran.

"We agreed that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. We discussed international efforts to convince the regime to comply with its obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions requiring it to stop enriching uranium and to reveal the full scope of its nuclear activities," Cheney said.

Cheney said the U.S. and Italian governments continue to work closely to enhance their economic relationship. The vice president leaves Italy on Wednesday. The Italian prime minister accepted his invitation to join him and the President Bush on Columbus Day in the United States.

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