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Bush rejects suggestion he might see Putin's successor as a puppet, blasts Castros

Bush rejects suggestion he might see Putin's successor as a puppet, blasts Castros

U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday rejected a suggestion he might see Russian President Vladimir Putin's likely successor as a puppet.
Bush said at a press conference that he knows little about Dmitry Medvedev, but will be watching closely for hints about how his election would change Russian foreign policy.
He said that it will be interesting, for instance, to learn who will represent Russia at the next Group of Eight industrialized nations meeting. The answer, he said, would "give some insight as to how Russia intends to conduct foreign policy after Vladimir Putin's presidency."
Asked by a reporter if he was concerned Medvedev would be a puppet, Bush replied: "No, I wouldn't say that."
Medvedev, who has been endorsed by Putin, is widely expected to beat three other candidates handily in Sunday's election. Putin has said he will take the No. 2 post of prime minister after stepping down as required by the Russian constitution.
Bush acknowledged that he has often disagreed with Putin, but said that he would advise his own successor to develop a working relationship with Russian leaders. He contrasted that stance with his refusal to meet with some other world leaders like Raul Castro and Kim Jong Il.
"I learned that it's important to establish personal relations with leaders even though you may not agree with them," he said. "Now, I'm not going to have a personal relationship with Kim Jong Il, and our relationships are such that that's impossible. But U.S.- Russian relations are important."
Bush also offered some of his strongest criticism yet of Raul Castro, who assumed Cuba's presidency on Sunday after his ailing brother Fidel ruled for decades.
"Sitting down at the table, having your picture taken with a tyrant such as Raul Castro, for example, lends the status of the office and the status of our country to him," Bush said.
Bush said Raul Castro is "nothing more than an extension of what his brother did, which is ruin an island."


Updated : 2021-07-25 01:30 GMT+08:00