MOSCOW, Jan. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Russia on Wednesday
rejected US criticism on its democratic situation, saying the issue is Russia's
"The domestic political situation is an internal affair of Russia," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a
press conference Wednesday, brushing aside a statement by the newly-designated
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday.
Rice said the United States was concerned about
Russia's democratic situation and would press Moscow to protect democracy which
is "vital to the future of US-Russian relations."
Lavrov said in response that US assessments "don't
always go inline with Russia's positions," the Itar-Tass news agency reported.
He assured those concerned that Russia's reforms are
being implemented in accordance with the constitution and the principle of
federalism to help strengthen the country, the Interfax news agency reported.
The foreign minister described Russian-US relations
as "friendly, normal and warm" and said the relations are based on "mutually
respectful relations between the two leaders," Interfax said.
"The United States is unlikely to alter that course,"
The minister disagreed with the assertion that the
Russian public regards the United States as an enemy. "Even in the most dramatic
Cold War years, we did not consider the US as an enemy," he said. Enditem