Michael McFaul: Lecturing and wagging a finger is not our style
December 03, 2009
Moscow hosted the first informal meeting of a Russian-U.S. working groups on civil society under the chairmanship of Russian First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov and special assistant to the U.S. president for National Security Affairs Michael McFaul. Following the meeting, McFaul gave an interview to Interfax.Question: Mr McFaul, how did the meeting of the working group on civil society go? What issues were addressed" How often will the group meet in the future?Answer:So, Mr. Surkov and I just met tonight in the Kremlin. I do not consider it an official meeting of the working group. As the two co-chairs of this working group, we worked out numerous issues to try to make it most effective. The first and most important issue was to try to figure out who are going to be members of this group. It is our view, and I think Mr. Surkov agreed that we‘re going to exchange papers on this, that we want the official working group to be government-to-government but that we would then interact with nongovernmental actors and meet with nongovernmental groups in the course of our interactions in this group. But it is not going to be a mixed nongovernment-and-government group. That‘s the principle that we have for all the working groups in the bilateral commission, that they are government-to-government. So even like the business dialogue and the economics ones, those are all government-to-government but then in parallel we want to encourage nongovernmental groups to meet. Not unlike what happened in July, by the way, when President Obama was here in Moscow.