WASHINGTON, May 16. /TASS/. The US administration believes that US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman’s plans to take part in the upcoming St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) are a routine part of his duties, a State Department Spokesperson told TASS on Tuesday.
"Ambassador Huntsman will attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum this year as a routine part of his duties as the US Ambassador," the diplomat said. "He does not have a speaking role [at the SPIEF]."
"His attendance is consistent with the approach he has taken since his confirmation: people-to-people exchanges and private interactions are an important way to show that our disagreements are with the government of Russia, not with its people," he stressed.
"The United States has legitimate, serious concerns about Russian government’s behavior. We will not hesitate to use every appropriate opportunity to convey our concerns as we engage with Russia," the diplomat added.
At the same time, he declined to answer the question on whether the Trump administration abandoned the previous US policy to discourage American companies from attending the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Nor did he explain whether the US administration plans to send a delegation from Washington to the SPIEF.