'Texas Bar Talk' Irks Foreign Ministry

Texas bar talk just ain't right for international diplomacy.

That's the general opinion of the Foreign Ministry, which is none-too-happy about some of the language being used by its counterparts in Washington.

The verbal sparring comes as relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk in the wake of Russia's war with Georgia, a U.S. ally.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack suggested at a briefing last week that Russia was violating the essence of an updated EU-brokered cease-fire deal designed to end its conflict with Georgia.

"Look, these guys are trying to — at every turn, trying to wiggle out of a commitment they made and that their president put his name to," McCormack said Wednesday.

That kind of talk didn't sit well in Moscow.

"We have paid attention to a recent statement by the official spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Mr. Sean McCormack," ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko told reporters Friday.

"I would like to say that 'these guys' is not language one uses with one's political and other partners," he said. "This kind of language can be used in bars, somewhere in Texas for example, but not in the practice of international contacts."

In truth, the normally dry tone of diplomacy has evaporated.

McCormack recently joked about the air- and seaworthiness of the Russian long-range bombers and warships being sent to the Caribbean. And after Russia recognized Georgia's two separatist regions at the heart of the conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sneered, "It isn't really an impressive list to have Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognize each other."

McCormack kept the sparring going Friday.

"Well, you know, get out the fainting couch for them," he said at a Washington briefing when asked about the Russians taking offense at his use of "these guys."

"They should probably focus less on exactly how I phrase things and maybe focus their energies on getting out of Georgia," he added.