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Moscow perplexed by US ambassador’s remarks re Russia -- FM

May 28, 2012, 23:31 UTC+3

His assessments of interaction between Russia and the U.S. go far beyond diplomatic etiquette

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MOSCOW, May 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow was extremely perplexed by U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul’s remarks regarding Russia, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, May 28.

“We were extremely perplexed by U.S. Ambassador in Moscow Michael McFaul’s remarks made on May 25, 2012 at a meeting with students of the Higher School of Economics. His assessments of interaction between Russia and the U.S. go far beyond diplomatic etiquette in form and are an intentional distortion of some aspects of the Russian-American dialogue in substance,” the ministry said.

“Specifically, the Russian leadership has never used the term ‘privileged spheres of influence’. We spoke and speak about countries with which we have mutual privileged interests. We do not use the term ‘spheres of influence’, which has taken root in America, in political practice, including with regard to Kyrgyzstan,” the ministry said.

“As for Manas Airport, McFaul knows better which bribes gave Washington and to whom. We can only say that some ten years ago the George Bush administration assured [us] of the need to use the Manas base for a year or two... We understand that there is a different administration in power in Washington now, but this does not solve the problem of predictability and transparency of American activities in Central Asia. The ambassador should be able at least to explain the discrepancy between what is said and what is done,” the ministry said.

“Just as unprofessional appear to be McFaul’s assertions about some ‘linkages’ that Russia supposedly insists on when discussing acute international issues. Saying that we allegedly proposed to exchange ‘Iran for Georgia’ and ‘human rights in Russia for North Korea’ means to be totally unaware of Moscow’s position, according to which fundamental issues, including non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, are an unconditional priority and are not subject to any bargaining.”

“It is also hard to understand why such an advocate of the freedom of speech as McFaul decided to cast a shadow on the highly professional work of the Russia Today television channel in the United States. It would seem that he should be pleased by the fact that American citizens have additional sources of information,” the ministry added.

“This is not the first time when statements and actions by Mr. McFaul, who holds such a high post, startle. We understand that ambassadors should facilitate the development of bilateral relations with the host country using profound knowledge of facts rather than irritated copying of tales in mass media. What makes this situation all the more regrettable is the fact that since the first days of his work as ambassador McFaul has been give access to representatives of all federal executive and legislative bodies of Russia and he should have formed an opinion about Moscow’s actual position on the abovementioned issues,” the ministry said.

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