minister subjected British counterpart to f-word tirade?
London, Sep 13 (IANS) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
subjected his British counterpart David Miliband to a tirade
filled with four-letter words at the height of the Russia-Georgia
crisis, according to a blog by a British newspaper correspondent.
Andrew Porter of the Daily Telegraph wrote in his blog on
the newspaper's website that he had been told of “an astonishing
telephone conversation” where Miliband had to endure a “four-letter
word tirade” by Russia's Lavrov.
Describing Lavrov as “a veteran not known for diplomatic niceties”,
the journalist quoted an unconfirmed report as suggesting
that the Russian minister told Miliband at one point: “Who
are you to f****** lecture me?”
“Such was the repeated use of the 'F word' according to one
insider who has seen the transcript, it was difficult to draft
a readable note of the conversation,” the blog said.
Miliband was apparently putting forth Britain's and Europe's
objections to Russian actions against Georgia in the territory
of South Ossetia.
Lavrov was also reported to have asked Miliband, who is often
portrayed as a contender for the leadership of the ruling
Labour Party, whether he knew anything of Russia's history.
The journalist quoted an unnamed “Whitehall insider” as telling
him: "It was effing this and effing that. It was not
what you would call diplomatic language. It was rather shocking."
“It is also understood that Mr Miliband was asked about Britain
and America's invasion of Iraq, when Russian actions in Georgia
were questioned, during the tense conversation that took place
recently,” Porter wrote.
The story was picked up Saturday by the Daily Mail, which,
like the Daily Telegraph is sympathetic to the opposition
The Daily Mail reported Lavrov used “full-strength industrial
language to suggest to the foreign secretary that he knew
little, if anything, of Russia's history - perhaps unaware
that Mr Miliband's grandfather Samuel served in the Red Army
and his father Ralph was a leading Marxist theoretician.”
In Moscow, meanwhile, Lavrov strongly denied that he had used
four-letter words during the conversation.
"I was compared with Gromyko - 'Grim Grom',” Lavrov told
reporters in a reference to the late long-serving Soviet foreign
minister Andrei Gromyko, who was nicknamed Mr Nyet.
“This story is so wrong that we have de-classified the report
of the conversation and are taking the unusual step of posting
the text on our (Russian foreign ministry) website,” he added.
Indo-Asian News Service
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