Diplomatic Rivals Form Unlikely Dream Team?

PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, is pictured with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, on Jan. 31, 2014 in Munich, Germany.
Share
Copy

They might become known as the Diplomatic Dream Team.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet today to discuss the mounting tension over Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. If the pair's past success is any predictor of the future, the meeting could benefit a potential diplomatic deal between the countries.

Kerry and Lavrov famously struck a last-minute deal over chemical weapons in Syria last September, when the United States was readying a military intervention over Syria's use of chemical weapons.

At that meeting, Kerry made an offhanded remark about Syria giving up its chemical weapons and avoiding U.S. involvement, a remark that was seized upon by Lavrov.

Russia offered to ensure that Syria would relinquish its chemical weapons if the U.S. would remain on the sidelines of the conflict -- giving the U.S. an out for involving itself in a foreign conflict while ensuring Syria wouldn't be able to use the weapons in the future.

What's Going On in Ukraine? An Up-to-Date Guide

Kerry and Lavrov have met face-to-face more than a dozen since the former senator took office, developing a rapport along the way.

In all of these meetings, the men have brought along their respective delegations, but the biggest moments of diplomacy have had more of a personal touch. It was a long walk through gardens near the Red Square in Russia last May where Lavrov and Kerry first agreed to push the Syrian government and opposition to another round of talks. And the two men sat alone, poolside at a hotel in Geneva last September to hash out the chemical weapons deal.

When the two met in Paris in January ahead of Syrian peace talks (which ultimately failed), Kerry opened the meeting by handing Lavrov a gift of two Idaho potatoes -- a reference to Kerry's Christmas vacation in Idaho -- and Lavrov reciprocated with a present of a pink fur cap.

Despite the chummy relationship, both leaders have exchanged sharp rhetoric when it comes to defending the positions of their countries. Just yesterday, Kerry warned Russia that it's actions in Ukraine were not the behavior of a G-8, major nation.

"It is not appropriate to invade a country, and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve," he said.

At the UN two days ago, Lavrov accused the United States and Europe's of being irresponsible and polarizing the Ukraine

"Those who attempt to interpret the situation as an act of aggression and threaten us with sanctions and boycotts –- these are the very same partners of ours who have consistently encouraged political forces close to them to deliver an ultimatum and refuse dialogue, to ignore the concerns of the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, which has ultimately polarized Ukrainian society."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...