U.S. Ambassador to Russia Sworn Into Office

Michael McFaul taking the oath of office Tuesday before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin

The new U.S. ambassador to Russia was sworn in Tuesday and pledged to expand the still incomplete "reset" in bilateral relations at the new job, RIA-Novosti reported.

At the Washington ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed Michael McFaul as a great thinker and writer on democracy and called the U.S.-Russian relationship "one of the most complex and consequential relationships we have with any nation in the world," the report said.

"I can think of no better representative of our values and interests in a strong, politically active, open and democratic Russia to deepen the American-Russian partnership," Clinton said.

"Today we find ourselves in the latest, more complicated phase [of the reset], when the intersection of our interests and values is not so obvious or easy," McFaul said in his own speech, Itar-Tass reported.

The "reset," implemented by U.S. President Barack Obama and his outgoing Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and lobbied for by McFaul, helped negotiate the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty in 2010.

But State Department representatives have said lately that the "reset" policy has not affected human rights and pledged to step up pressure on Moscow to fulfill its democratic obligations.

McFaul, 48, had previously worked as Obama's top adviser on Russia. He was nominated for the post in September, although his candidacy was initially blocked by Republican Senator Mark Kirk over security concerns.

McFaul is expected to begin work in Moscow on Saturday.

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