Russia,US play down envoy detention

Senior Russian officials signaled on Wednesday that what they said was a failed effort by CIA officer Ryan A Fogle to recruit a Russian security official as a spy would not disrupt the broader relationship between the two countries.

Written by New York Times | Moscow | Published: May 16, 2013 1:42:14 am

Senior Russian officials signaled on Wednesday that what they said was a failed effort by CIA officer Ryan A Fogle to recruit a Russian security official as a spy would not disrupt the broader relationship between the two countries.

In Moscow,the US ambassador,Michael A McFaul,appeared,as summoned,at a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry,where he was told once again about Russia’s outrage over Fogle’s actions.

Fogle,was posted at the American Embassy as a political officer,was arrested on Monday night,and released to the embassy on Tuesday with orders that he leave the country as soon as possible.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia’s foreign minister,Sergey V Lavrov,appeared together on Wednesday at the biennial meeting of the Arctic Council in Kiruna,Sweden,and seemed intent to not let the spy incident disrupt their efforts to organise a political settlement to the conflict in Syria.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning,after the meeting between McFaul and a deputy foreign minister,Sergei A Ryabkov,the Russian Foreign Ministry hinted that Russia was prepared to move past the incident. The statement said that Ryabkov had “protested an attempt to recruit an employee of one of the Russian secret services” by the CIA and noted that Fogle had been arrested “red-handed” and officially declared a “persona non grata” and that he must leave Russia in the shortest possible time.

The statement went on to say,however,that “in addition,there was a discussion of questions related to the widening legal basis of bilateral relations” and they “addressed several aspects of the current international agenda” — a clear indication that officials at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow considered the spy incident largely finished.

DAVID M HERSZENHORN & STEVEN LEE MYERS

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