Kremlin tells US envoy to be more diplomatic
MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul gestures during his meeting with deputies of the United Russia party at Russia's State Duma, lower house of parliament, in Moscow, May 25, 2012. REUTERS photoThe United States ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul needs to behave more diplomatically, a Kremlin foreign policy official said following the envoy's controversial remarks in a speech last week.
"I think ambassadors should be diplomatic," President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told reporters.
"I was an ambassador in the US for almost 10 years," Ushakov said. "The principle that I followed, it's quite simple and is followed by practically all ambassadors: they should defend the interests of their country positively." "The leadership of both countries is aiming for constructive mutual work, and... ambassadors should act in the same spirit and not bring discord into the work of their own leadership." "One should not try to be undiplomatic, but try to be diplomatic," Ushakov said. "This will help him." Ambassador McFaul was forced Monday evening to defend himself after Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed "utmost puzzlement" over his remarks Friday delivered to a group of students in Moscow Higher School of Economics.
State television reported that McFaul said that Russia offered former Soviet republic Kyrgyzstan a massive loan to shut the US military base there, a source of irritation, implying Moscow was trying to bribe its partner.
The speech itself was shown live on the Higher School of Economics website but was not available from either the school or the embassy Tuesday. McFaul, who is a prolific and frank Twitter blogger, wrote in defence that his speech "highlighted over 20 positive results of 'reset'," though admitted that he is "still learning the craft of speaking more diplomatically." The keen Kremlinologist and fluent Russian speaker is known in Moscow as the man who promoted the pro-Western "colour revolutions" that swept ex-Soviet nations in the past 10 years.
Obama's appointment of McFaul had been controversial in Russia, even before he met leaders of protests against President Vladimir Putin less than 48 hours after stepping off his Moscow-bound plane.