US Ambassador to Cyprus, John Koenig, was forced to issue a clarifying statement on Monday, after a series of tweets on Sunday, about President Anastasiades’ recent Russia visit, sparked a hostile reaction from Anastasiades, the Archbishop, the political parties and journalists. As RedPillTimes reports, Koenig has been promptly "relieved of duty" after he posted on his Twitter account what was essentially a clever ploy to link Cyprus President Anastasiades (who recently visited Moscow) to the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. Anastasiades was furious, calling Koenig's tweet "exceedibly undiplomatic," adding that it "creates 'icy' bilateral relations."
As RedPillTimes reports, in the Twitter conversation...
...Ambassador Koenig even goes as far as accusing the Cypriot President of hanging out with ‘bad company’... in reference to Russia’s democratically elected and wildly popular President Vladimir Putin.
@AHadjikyriacos As I have explained to another, week was big on close CY-RUS rels, ended with killing of Nemtsov. The company you keep.— John M. Koenig (@AmbJohnKoenig) March 1, 2015
And Koenig also tried to imply that Putin was the mastermind behind the murder...
“I wouldn’t suggest Anastasiades is linked to Nemtsov assassination. Be real. But Putin could be.”
Of course Koenig is not a forensic expert, Moscow homicide detective, or even US Ambassador to Russia, but he still felt he needed to jump on the western media “Trash Russia” express train.
@AHadjikyriacos I wouldn't suggest Anastasiades is linked to Nemtsov assassination. Be real. But Putin could be.— John M. Koenig (@AmbJohnKoenig) March 1, 2015
In a statement he issued on Monday, Koenig said
“My question on Twitter, ‘What do people in #Cyprus think about the week in Russia as seen from here? Anastasiades visit and statements, #Nemtsov assassination?’ was misunderstood”.
The US Embassy has announced that another diplomat will be named to take the place of John Koenig, adding that Koenig`s term as US Ambassador to the Republic of Cyprus is for three years and his departure in the Summer of 2015 has always been anticipated. Of course it has.
His tweets, not the type expected from an ambassador, seemed calculated to provoke, although he denied this was his intention. But the truth is, regardless of his intentions, his comment did provoke because it was undiplomatic and out of order.
The original tweet said: “What do people in #Cyprus think about the week in Russia as seen from here? Anastasiades visit and statements, #Nemtsov assassination?” On Monday, Koenig said, “it is unfortunate that some suggested I linked the two issues,” and explained that he “simply wanted to get the reaction of the Cypriot people on two different issues.” This was not the most convincing response and the ambassador is smart enough to know that his tweet could have been interpreted in the way many of his followers had interpreted it.
And he persisted with the link in subsequent tweets: “Week was big 4 Cyprus-Russia, ended with killing of Nemtsov,” tagging on the snide remark, “The company you keep.” Was this remark not intended to “provoke or imply anything”, as he claimed yesterday? If it were not he would not have put the two issues together.
Whatever has happened to traditional diplomacy, of carefully-drafted documents being delivered to the foreign ministry of a country and ambassadors restricting their rarely-made public comments to non-controversial issues? And since when do ambassadors seek people’s reactions to events through social media? It is not as if Koenig’s followers on Twitter represented a cross-section of Cypriot society.
The reaction to the ambassador’s tweets was not restricted to his followers. Even Anastasiades [Cyprus President] felt obliged to make a public statement.
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Is it any wonder the world questions the unipolar reign of America when people like this are 'representing' them? Right or wrong, his comments are simply ridiculous for an ambassador to speculate on. As President Anastasiades stated...
“When an ambassador, instead of helping to improve relations constantly creates a coldness [in relations] he is not doing his best either for his country or the country to which he is accredited,”
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And then there's this...
This unfortunately is Russia today: Pravda says 90% probability that CIA killed "their Russian agent Nemtsov". http://t.co/wdnlwxtJq3— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 28, 2015