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The Wenatchee World newspaper — which is so proud of its apples that it has a drawing of an apple in place of the “O” in World — noted the indiscretion.

“He knew full well what a statement like that would mean in the Apple Capital of the World,” reporter Christine Pratt wrote.

Todd M. Fryhover of the Washington Apple Commission was more diplomatic than the ambassador, attributing Mr. Djumaliev’s gaffe to a language problem.

“My guess is the message received by our ears and what the ambassador wanted to convey are vastly different,” he told Embassy Row. “English, I’m sure, is Ambassador Djumaliev’s second language; and although he is very well-educated and certainly competent, his choice of words could have been articulated better.”

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at or @EmbassyRow.