Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Kerry Gives Lavrov Two Potatoes

US Secretary of State John Kerry presented his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov with two Idaho potatoes as a gift during a meeting in Paris to negotiate details of a peace conference for Syria scheduled to begin on January 22.   Mr Kerry said that at their last meeting, Mr Lavrov mentioned the state of Idaho's most famous export. The Russian foreign minister seemed to appreciate the gift, commenting that they were "impressive." They have discussed the possibility of "localised ceasefires" in Syria ahead of the peace conference. At a later press conference Lavrov, speaking in English, suggested the potatoes may have symbolic use as the Syria negotiations approach: "The specific potato which John handed to me has the shape which makes it possible to insert potato in the carrot-and-stick expression. So it could be used differently."   Kerry said that there was "no hidden meaning" or "metaphor" behind the gift. In return the Russian side presented Mr Kerry with a pink fur hat for State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. (video) (video; see at 5:25)

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