Statement by U.S. Ambassador John F. Tefft
Moscow, November 19, 2014
It was a privilege to present my credentials today to President Putin as the new U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. I joined 14 other ambassadors in the Kremlin’s beautiful Alexander Hall. As a U.S. diplomat for more than four decades, I am committed to maintaining open and frank lines of communication between our two great nations – helping explain Russia’s perspective to Washington and expressing the U.S. government’s views to Moscow.
The United States and Russia are now facing important challenges in our relationship. We have serious differences over Russia’s policy in Ukraine. As President Obama said at the G20 summit in Brisbane, we hope Russia will choose “a different path, to resolve the issue of Ukraine in a way that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and is consistent with international law…we would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated with the global economy; that is thriving on behalf of its people; that can once again engage with us in cooperative efforts around global challenges.” Our embassy staff and I stand ready to do everything necessary to achieve that goal.
Russia and the United States have worked together, succeeded together, and suffered together in a long relationship lasting more than 200 years. Despite the ups-and-downs of the official links over the years, the human connection between our peoples always has remained strong. As Ambassador, an important part of my role is helping to strengthen those people-to-people ties.
I will do my best to engage Russians from all parts of society. I will explain what the United States stands for and promote respect for the dignity of every citizen, democratic values, good governance, and rule of law. My wife Mariella and I welcome the opportunity to renew and deepen our knowledge of Russia’s rich history and cultural heritage. And we look forward to engaging with our many friends in Russia and promoting expanded cultural ties between the Russian and American people.