DiplomacyPosted: September 18, 2013
from yesterday’s NY Times:
Mr. Kerry and Mr. Lavrov completed the plan sitting by the pool at a Geneva hotel.
At the United Nations, he was known for his elaborate, seemingly absent-minded doodling during lengthy meetings but also for a command of the issues.
“He was a great doodler, but his mind was always spinning away,” said Charles A. Duelfer, who was deputy head of the United Nations’ weapons inspectors program in Iraq in the 1990s and frequently met with Mr. Lavrov at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
…Mr. Lavrov, a chain-smoker, is known as an old-school diplomat. He flatly ignored an effort by Secretary General Kofi Annan to ban smoking in the United Nations headquarters, saying Mr. Annan did not own the building. He enjoys whiskey and cigars, and his hobbies tend toward action sports like rafting and skiing.
He can show flashes of anger. When a photographer asked Mr. Lavrov, Mr. Kerry and the special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, to pose after a meeting in Geneva, Mr. Lavrov said: “You don’t give us orders; you just capture the moment.”
The former Austrian foreign minister, Ursula Plassnik, called Mr. Lavrov “one of the most knowledgeable and respected foreign policy actors in the global village.” On her first visit to Moscow, she said, Mr. Lavrov was waiting for her outside the legendary Café Pushkin with a bunch of yellow roses.
The history books:
Georgi I. Mirsky, a political scientist at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, said that the Syria plan was really Mr. Putin’s but that Mr. Lavrov will get the credit.
“In history textbooks, it will be Lavrov and Kerry — Lavrov the great man, he saves Syria from American military strikes, and also saves Barack Obama from a humiliating and embarrassing situation in the Congress,” Mr. Mirsky said. “He is a bureaucrat, he is a good diplomat. He knows the score. And he will never ever say anything that will contradict the official line.”
Who is gonna read that boring ass history book? Not me unless Margaret MacMillan writes it.