First, Russian President Vladimir Putin penned a critical op-ed in the New York Times, lecturing President Barack Obama on the dangers of promoting American exceptionalism. Now, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov apparently mocked Secretary of State John Kerry to his face for talking too much during talks in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday, according to NBC News foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell.
"They got off to a really bad start yesterday -- partly because of the Putin op-ed, partly because Kerry in the opening remarks spoke at length -- and I mean at length -- compared to the unprepared few welcoming comments from the Russian counterpart," Mitchell said on "Morning Joe."
"And then the Russian minister said at the end, very tartly, 'Sometimes diplomacy demands silence,'" she recalled.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks on September 13, 2013 during a press conference with United Nations-Arab League special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (C) and Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov after their high-stakes talks on Syria's chemical weapons at the UN headquarters in Geneva. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
There was no "movement on the chemical side," Mitchell said of the ongoing negotiations. She also said there was a lot of "tension" during the meeting.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has now set two preconditions for turning over his chemical weapons stockpile, which is causing even more tension, Mitchell observed. Bashar wants the U.S. to stop arming the Syrian rebels as well as retracting threats of a military strike.
"They did go over to the [U.N.] headquarters here briefly, and they've agreed, get this: The stalled peace talks -- this isn't the chemical talks -- the stalled peace talks on the long term political solution to the war that were supposed to be in May, then postponed to June, then July, still haven't taken place because each side in the war thought they were gaining or losing advantage," she added. "Well, now they will talk about it on September 28 or so at the U.N. in New York --- talk about when they will have a peace conference."
Mitchell said Russian and U.S. negotiators are now focusing on Assad's chemical weapons stash.
Watch the report via MSNBC:
(H/T: Washington Examiner)
Featured image via AFP/Getty