Monday, February 22, 2010

Quickie: Ambassadors on Angry Fight?

Josh Rogin of The Cable on U.S. envoy in angry fight with Turkish ambassador, right outside Clinton meeting (February 19, 2010 - 11:21 AM): 

U.S. Ambassador to Doha Joseph LeBaron got into an angry -- and by some accounts physical -- altercation with Turkish Ambassador Fuat Tanlay in Qatar last weekend, when LeBaron tried to cut off the late-running meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
State Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley was an eyewitness and gave his account to The Cable.
"There was a sharp exchange of words, after which the ambassador banged on the door that led to the meeting location," Crowley told The Cable. "I recall that he was pulled away from the door, at which time several of us interceded."
Josh’s later posted an update: LeBaron sent The Cable this on the record response, which directly contradicts the accounts told by Crowley and in the Turkish press. "The facts portrayed in the article do not reflect what actually transpired; no violence or physical contact occurred, for example. What was important was that Secretary of State Clinton was able to have a series of constructive talks in Doha, meeting with Qatar's head of state, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and with other top officials such as Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. "
Read the whole post here.

Imagine if somebody in the delegation was actually on Twitter when this went down and had a blow by blow account…yep, I know, bad idea. More difficult to scrubbed, massaged, get a spa-treatment for an runaway message or incident.    

Ambassador LeBaron’s Wikipedia entry is here; current enough that it includes a report about the ambassadors’ diplomatic row.   

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