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New US ambassador arrives in Moscow

January 14, 2012, 21:16 UTC+3

Michael McFaul is reputed to be one of the authors of reset in Russian-U.S. relations

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MOSCOW, January 14 (Itar-Tass) — The new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has arrived in Moscow, bringing his family with him.

McFaul, who is reputed to be one of the authors of reset in Russian-U.S. relations, said he was excited to come to Russia.

Moscow hopes that McFaul’s experience will help him in his work in Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

“McFaul worked as a special assistant to the U.S. president for Russian affairs in recent years. He was one of those who drafted the main agreements made at that time... All the positive things made by the Americans at different periods of time during negotiations on Russia’s accession to the WTO also happened under him,” Ryabkov said earlier.

The new ambassador worked for many years in non-governmental organisations and is considered to be a specialist not only in Russia but also in human rights.

“He has a multifaceted biography. He looked at the same issues from different points of view. I think he will find this experience useful in his new capacity,” Ryabkov said.

Russia expects that, contrary to forecasts of ill-wishers, the new U.S. ambassador will not permit setbacks in bilateral relations, Ryabkov said.

“We know Michael McFaul very well,” Ryabkov said. “He was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia in the recent years and, hence, participated directly in all the processes that at first permitted bilateral relations to be balanced out and then put them on a more positive route.”

“We also know well that McFaul worked for a long time in non-governmental organisations and research and study centres and also dealt with human rights themes,” Ryabkov said. “All these are well-known facts.”

“We expect that the line at the development of bilateral relations will continue,” the deputy foreign minister said. “We are confident that such an experienced person will be able to take the right course and ensure that there will be no setbacks in our relations, no matter why some ill-wishers forecast such setbacks.”

“We believe that those on the US side dealing with Russian policy are wise and experienced enough to prevent this,” Ryabkov said.

McFaul is to take office on January 14, the press service of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said earlier this week.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swore him in as the new U.S. ambassador to Russia at the U.S. Department of State on January 10.

According to McFaul, reset is not over and is entering a new, more complex, stage where the coincidence of Russian and American interests and values is not so obvious.

He believes that the two countries will need a broader dialogue and be more creative in searching for mutual understanding and resolving disagreements in order to be able to cooperate on missile defence, respond to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and stop the bloodshed in Syria.  

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