Russian Foreign Ministry misinterpreted Ambassador McFaul's statements about Manas - U.S. State Department Spokesperson

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs misunderstood or misinterpreted the statements made by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul at the meeting with a group of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, said Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson of U.S. Department of State, at the daily press briefing in Washington on May 29.

“The point that he was trying to make is that in the current environment, the U.S. has a strong relationship with Kyrgyzstan. Russia has a strong relationship with Kyrgyzstan. And Kyrgyzstan is playing an important role in support of ISAF operations. And he was contrasting this to times past, in the Soviet era, when we used to compete over this sort of thing. And somehow, the Russian Government seems to have taken that amiss and they are trying to sort it out there in Moscow,” Victoria Nuland said.

“He was making the point that with regard to Kyrgyzstan and the importance of the – Manas – of the facility there, and what it – the international airport and the transit center, that we are very transparent – the U.S. is – with Russia, with regard to the role that that center plays in ISAF operations, and with regard to our relationship with Kyrgyzstan – with regard to the base. And we ask for the same information and the same support from Russia. So it’s no longer this sort of secret competition that you had in the Soviet era,” she went on saying.

> Map of Kyrgyzstan
McFaul's presentation was all about the benefits that the reset in U.S.-Russian relations has brought for Russia, for citizens, for groups across the country and for the United States, Victoria Nuland said. “So, as one of the architects of the President’s reset policy, he’s in a position not only to really understand the benefits, but also to try to continue to advance them. So it’s in that – from that perspective that we considered him an extremely strong ambassador,” she said when asked by journalists if Michael McFaul is still an effective representative for the U.S. in Moscow.

“He speaks plainly, he speaks clearly, he doesn’t mince words, he’s not a professional diplomat, and I think that for the Russian Government, the fact that he speaks clearly when things are going well and he speaks clearly when they’re going less well is something that they’re having to get used to,” she added.