Now, Russia stakes claim to its "privileged" sphere of influence

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Moscow, Sep.1 : Russia on Sunday laid out guiding principles of its foreign policy that included a claim to a "privileged" sphere of influence in the world.

In an address to Russian Television viewers, President Dmitri Medvedev said from the Black Sea resort of Sochi,that his government would adhere to five principles.

The New York Times quoted him as saying that Russia would observe international law and rejected the United States dominance of world affairs in a "unipolar" world.

It would also seek friendly relations with other nations, defend Russian citizens and business interests abroad, and claim a sphere of influence in the world.

In his unabashed claim to a renewed Russian sphere of influence, Medvedev said: "Russia, like other countries in the world, has regions where it has privileged interests. These are regions where countries with which we have friendly relations are located."

Asked whether this sphere of influence would be the border states around Russia, he answered, "It is the border region, but not only."

Last week, Medvedev used vehement language in announcing Russia's recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Though he alluded in passing to respecting Georgia's territorial integrity, he defended Russia's intervention as necessary to prevent a genocide.

Medvedev's bravado came as leaders of the 27 members of the European Union will meet in an emergency session on Monday to decide on whether sanctions need to be imposed on Russia for its conflict with Georgia.

The members in Eastern Europe have tended to be more wary and more confrontational toward Russia, while Western European countries have tended to be more concerned with not jeopardizing energy imports from Russia.

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