US Instates New Ambassador to Russia

Posted January 11th, 2012 at 12:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, officially takes up his duties this Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted the swearing-in ceremony for McFaul on Tuesday in Washington.

She said his appointment represents “the kind of deeper cooperation and closer ties” with Russia that U.S. President Barack Obama supports.

“Now, when President Obama convinced Mike to temporarily leave Palo Alto to serve as senior director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council, he became one of the leading architects of what has been called the reset. Together with our Russian partners, we have worked to revamp our relationship to make it more effective and better suited for today's world.”

Clinton outlined several examples of progress in cooperation between Russia and the United States, including the ratification of a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the expansion of supply routes into Afghanistan. Since President Obama took office in 2009, the two countries have also signed a new civilian nuclear cooperation pact and agreed on tougher sanctions against Iran.

McFaul is replacing John Beyrle, who has served as U.S. ambassador to Russia since 2008.

Secretary Clinton said President Obama personally informed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev of the choice at a meeting in France in May.

McFaul is a former Stanford University professor and Rhodes scholar. He has no previous diplomatic experience, but is highly regarded for his efforts to improve relations with Moscow.

Clinton called McFaul one of the nation's “leading thinkers and writers on democracy” and said she can think of no better representative of the U.S. interest in a “strong, politically vibrant, open, democratic Russia.”