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UPDATED: 08:12, February 13, 2007
Germany says Putin's comments do not mean return to Cold War
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Germany said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin's sharp criticism of the United States does not mean a return to the Cold War.

Putin's tough statement does not represent "a reversion to the Cold War," German government spokesman Wlrich Wilhelm said a regular briefing.

Speaking at the Munich security conference on Saturday, Putin slammed the United States for its "almost uncontained" use of force in the world.

"We are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations ... the United States has overstepped its national borders in every way," Wilhelm said.

Wilhelm expressed his understanding at Putin's remarks, saying Putin spoke in his own characteristic style at a venue that was a suitable and longstanding context for that kind of plain talk.

In his strongest criticism of Washington, Putin said: "The legitimate use of force can only be done by the United Nations, which cannot be replaced by EU or NATO," he said, warning that a U. S.-led "unipolar world" was unacceptable.

However, the German spokesman said he did not agree with Putin's criticism of NATO's eastward expansion.

Putin said: "NATO expansion is a serious factor which reduces the level of mutual trust."

Russia has the right to ask whom NATO is aimed at by expanding its bases and infrastructures toward Moscow when the real global threat was posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, Putin said.

Wilhelm said NATO would keep up the dialogue with the Kremlin about this and continue to cooperate with Russia on international issues.

Source: Xinhua

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