Seems that the bilateral meeting yesterday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Secretary of State John Kerry wasn’t all that Kerry thought it was cracked up to be.
Putin appeared to have no interest talking with a secretary and instead talked only of his presidential counterpart during the joint appearance before the media in Moscow:
I’m happy that we continue regular contacts with our U.S. colleagues at all levels. I recently spoke with President Obama on the phone. We spoke twice and we had long, substantial conversations. I had a chance to discuss many aspects of our relations. I got his letter. Mr. Donilon brought it to Moscow.
Right now, we’re working on our bilateral. I hope to be able to meet with Mr. President shortly in person. We will have a number of opportunities this year. I think it’s very important that our key ministries and agencies, including the foreign ministry, cooperate in finding solutions for the most topical and relevant issues of today’s world.
Kerry, who spoke more than twice as long as Putin, waxed to an extent that likely annoyed the Russian leader:
Mr. President, I also am honored to be here on the eve of your Victory Day celebration. I had the pleasure of walking through Red Square and seeing the preparations, and I even met with some of your veterans and I had a chance to talk with them about their experiences. And I think many people in the United States and elsewhere are not fully aware of the enormous contribution of Russia, the amazing sacrifices and the great effort made as a partner, an ally, to win that war. And we thank you for that great cooperation.
And Mr. President, I bring you President Obama’s greetings. He related to me the substance of his conversations with you, for which he was very grateful, and he is looking forward to seeing you on the side of the G-8 in Ireland and would reiterate that there are many issues – economic, economic cooperation, the challenges of North Korea, Iran, Syria, and many other issues – of which he believes that we could cooperate very significantly.
And finally, Mr. President, I know that we’ll have a chance to talk about it seriously in a few moments, but we really believe, the United States believes, that we share some very significant common interests with respect to Syria – stability in the region, not having extremists creating problems throughout the region and elsewhere – and I think we have both embraced in the Geneva communique a common approach. So it’s my hope that today we’ll be able to dig into that a little bit and see if we can find the common ground. And the President – President Obama particularly feels that cooperation between Russia and the United States with respect to economic issues is something that would be of enormous benefit to both, and Russia’s leadership is so key on so many of those issues. We look forward to working with you.
Kerry did say, though, that “our professionals are working together now to work to deal with some of the issues of the bombing that took place in Boston.”