U.S. Embassy in Russia
December 1, 2017
Media Note on Cancellation of Ambassador Huntsman’s Travel to the Russian Far East
Shortly after his arrival to Russia in October, U.S. Ambassador Huntsman prioritized visits to cities where we actively support U.S. citizens and U.S. business interests and where we hope in the very near future to be able to renew consular operations. He was very pleased with his November visits to Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg where he visited the U.S. consulates and had a great opportunity to express to local officials his goals for stabilizing and improving the bilateral relationship.
He had hoped next week to continue this outreach with a visit to Vladivostok and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Given, however that local officials – including the governors of Primorskiy Krai and Sakhalin, and the mayor of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk – were uniformly unable to find time to meet with Ambassador Huntsman, the visit has regretfully been canceled. The response by local officials also means we have to cancel our request for Ambassador Huntsman to engage during the visit with the Pacific Fleet Commander on security issues of mutual interest in the Pacific region.
This is particularly disappointing in light of the open, productive meetings that Ambassador Huntsman has had with Minister Lavrov, Minister Shoigu, and other cabinet ministers, governors, and other officials in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg.
It goes without saying that the path to improving U.S.-Russian relations begins with a willingness to engage in a frank and open dialogue. Ambassador Huntsman is committed to establishing that dialogue whenever the Russian side is willing to come to the table.