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McCain to work with Russia, won't ignore 'aggression'

world Updated: Sep 05, 2008 08:55 IST
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Republican presidential nominee John McCain vowed Thursday to work to establish good ties with Russia, but warned the United States could not "turn a blind eye" to aggression.

"As president I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," McCain told his party's convention after accepting the nomination to run against Democrat Barack Obama in November.

"But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

Ties between the United States and its former Cold War foe have sunk to their lowest level in years following Moscow's attacks on Georgia during a brief war last month.

McCain lambasted Russia's leaders who "rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power.

"They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world's oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of reassembling the Russian empire.

"And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and prayers."

Russia sent tanks and troops into Georgia after a Georgian offensive on August 7 to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Moscow withdrew most of its forces under a French-brokered ceasefire, but thousands of Russian troops that Moscow terms "peacekeepers" remain in the two rebel regions and in a buffer zone.

Russia and Georgia have now virtually shut down diplomatic exchanges, with Moscow suspending visas for Georgian citizens and saying it would pull troops out of Georgia only when the peace plan was fully implemented.