Kerry Presents Russian Counterpart with a Pair of Potatoes
Secretary of State John Kerry presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov not with a reset button at today's Syria talks in Paris, but with... a pair of potatoes.
#idahopotato presented by @JohnKerry to Sergey #Lavrov: to be or not to be #luckypotato? @mfa_russia pic.twitter.com/QBOCm3FUVn
— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia) January 13, 2014
At their joint press conference, a confused Russian reporter asked about the gift. "It is a symbolic gift? What does it mean?"
"Well, he told me he’s not going to make vodka. He’s going to eat them," Kerry quipped before changing the subject.
"With respect to the potatoes, I really want to clarify: There’s no hidden meaning," he later said. "There’s no metaphor. There’s no symbolic anything. We were having a good conversation in the course of the Christmas break over the subject of Idaho, which was where I was at the time, and he recalled the Idaho potatoes as being something that he knew of, so I thought I would surprise him and bring him some good Idaho potatoes. And that’s the full symbol of the whole thing."
"The specific potato which John handed to me has the shape which makes it possible to insert potato in the carrot-and-stick expression," Lavrov laughed. "So it could be used differently."
Russia responded by putting State Department press secretary Jen Psaki in a pink ushanka: