MOSCOW, January 26 (Itar-Tass) —— U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul denied rumours that his country sponsors the Russian opposition.
He believes that saying so would be an insult to the people who came to opposition rallies with a message for the authorities.
McFaul told Ekho Moskvy radio on Wednesday, January 25, that it was Russia’s business how to react to opposition protests and the United States would not interfere.
Earlier in the day, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke of the new U.S. ambassador and Russian-U.S. relations in general.
He believes that bilateral relations have cooled down lately.
“They are no worse, just as my relations with Barack Obama,” Medvedev said. To prove his point, the president recalled that the candidature of the new U.S. ambassador to Russia had been agreed among the presidents.
“I am acquainted with McFaul. He has a quick mind,” Medvedev said. “Let him do his job. I hope he will succeed.”
“But he must be aware that he will be working in Russia, and not in the United States,” the president stressed.
McFaul has already met with many senior people whom he had known well over the three years in my old job at the White House, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, the Russian president’s Foreign Policy Advisor Sergei Prikhodko, the prime minister’s Foreign Policy Advisor Yuriy Ushakov, and Chief of the Presidential Administration Sergei Ivanov.
“In these meetings, Secretary Burns outlined the Obama Administration’s ambitions for deepening and expanding our bilateral relations, particularly regarding trade and investment. We also had informative and productive exchanges on Iran, Syria, and North Korea, with all agreeing that close coordination and cooperation between the United States and Russia on these international issues is critical,” he said.
On January 17, McFaul joined Deputy Secretary Burns for a meeting with representatives from civil society and, separately, from political parties. “Just as President Obama did when he visited Moscow in July 2009, all senior U.S. officials visiting Russia make a point of meeting with both government officials and civil society leaders. It’s a policy we call dual track engagement. We learned a lot from listening to these leaders,” he wrote.
“As President Obama told me last week on my last day at the White House, we have entered a new phase in our bilateral relations with some new challenges. But new challenges also create the opportunity for doing important work,” McFaul said.