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“It is truly a privilege to return to Russia as the U.S. Ambassador,” the American Embassy in Moscow quoted Tefft as saying when presenting a copy of his diplomatic credentials to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
“As Ambassador, I have two main responsibilities. First and foremost, I am here to promote, defend, and explain the interests of the United States. Secondly, I am here to help my own government understand Russia’s goals and perspectives,” he said.
The diplomat said “America’s relations with Russia have a long and complex history. We have been allies, and we have been adversaries. We have cooperated and we have clashed. One thing, however that has never changed is America’s enduring commitment to engage with Russia, its people, and its government”.
Tefft, a career diplomat and former US ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, arrived in Moscow last Friday.
Tefft was nominated by President Barack Obama in July to fill the post that has been vacant since February when Tefft’s predecessor, Michael McFaul, resigned.
The U.S. diplomat served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow between 1996 and 1999 (when Thomas Pickering was the US ambassador to Russia) and was charge d’affairs at the embassy between November 1996 and September 1997. Before his recent appointment, Tefft was the executive director of the RAND Business Leaders Forum at the RAND Corporation.