Mikhail Gorbachev: no security if poverty persists

Fighting global poverty and creating stronger international alliances are the keys to security and spreading democracy, former Soviet president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday.

"It is hard to imagine a calm, safe and secure world" where so many people live in poverty, Gorbachev said through an interpreter. He spoke Wednesday as part of a lecture series at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

"If people's lives are not becoming better, people begin to change their minds and say democracy is worthless," he said during an hour-long question-and-answer session before an audience of about 400.

Gorbachev has been traveling in the United States since last week celebrating the 20th anniversary of "perestroika" _ the government reforms he led in the former Soviet Union. The reforms were accompanied by the fall of communism, the spread of democracy in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War between the United States and Russia.

Gorbachev also criticized the lack of cooperation from governments, particularly the United States, in facing environmental issues. The failure of the U.S. to adopt collaborative agreements, such as the Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gases, shows "there is a gap between words and deeds," he said, reported AP. P.T.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team