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    The southern coast of Crimea in the vicinity of the Big Yalta

    US Delegation Visiting Crimea to Promote Citizen-to-Citizen Dialogue

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    A US delegation will deliver a declaration to Simferopol officials on Tuesday reaffirming the need for more citizen-to-citizen dialogue between Russians and Americans, delegate member and former CIA analyst Raymond McGovern told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A group of US activists and former government officials are touring Russia to build exchanges between US and Russian cities.

    "The city of Salem in Oregon [has] a sister city arrangement with Simferopol," McGovern told Sputnik on Monday. The delegation will deliver "a declaration openly reemphasizing our [US] need and our preference for citizen-to-citizen dialogue."

    The delegation, McGovern explained, will first meet with Simferopol city officials, including possibly the mayor, before meeting with Crimean journalists.

    Citizen-to-citizen dialogue, McGovern pointed out, is more critical now than at the height of the Cold War because not enough people are around who know anything about nuclear weapons.

    "The people who fashion our [US] policy toward Russia don’t seem to have any idea of what the dangers of escalation could be. There are enough nuclear weapons on each side to put an end to all civilized life on earth," McGovern stated.

    The group visited Yalta on Monday, McGovern noted, where they exchanged views on the referendum with chairs of the city council and foreign relations committee.

    McGovern said he had an opportunity to explain to Yalta officials how the American people have been brainwashed by propaganda and continue to believe President Vladimir Putin is evil for allegedly invading Ukraine and remain oblivious to the Western-sponsored coup.

    "The explanation was that the mainstream media… has incentive for creating tension because, as is well known, peace is not good for business," McGovern claimed. "Tension is very good for what Pope Francis calls the blood-soaked arms traders."

    Another objective of the trip, he explained, was to talk to ordinary Russians to hear the truth about the Crimean referendum, in which 96 percent of participants voted to rejoin Russia.

    "They told us of the enthusiasm and elation that came with being given a voice in what would happen in Crimea," McGovern noted.

    The delegation has already been to Moscow and Yalta and plans to visit Simferopol, Sevastopol, Krasnodar and St. Petersburg in coming days. It plans to meet with journalists, NGO leaders, youth groups and entrepreneurs in the coming days along with visiting cultural and historical sites, according to Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) President and expedition organizer Sharon Tennison.

    Raymond McGovern, a CIA analysist from 1963 to 1990, chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and prepared daily briefs for seven US Presidents.

    Simferopol, Crimea
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