It has been three days since Secretary of States John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to try to talk about Syria. So far, Lavrov has not returned favor. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that Kerry is “relaxed” about the situation, and that it’s not unusual to be ignored when the Foreign Minister is travelling. Transcript below:
QUESTION: Has the Secretary been in touch at all with Foreign Minister Lavrov on the issue of Syria or any other issue for that matter in the last few days?
MS. NULAND: Well, as you know, the subject of Syria did come up in some detail in their introductory conversation. The Secretary placed a call to Foreign Minister Lavrov a couple of days ago, primarily to talk about the D.P.R.K., but we always talk to our Russian counterparts about Syria when we intersect with them, but the Foreign Minister has not yet chosen to return the call.
QUESTION: So that’s three days now.
MS. NULAND: I would say as —
QUESTION: Do they have any explanation for why Mr. Lavrov is unavailable for the Secretary’s of State of the United States for three days?
MS. NULAND: Well, first of all, let me say that we are relaxed. The Secretary is relaxed about this, that he is – can I —
QUESTION: Okay. I used the word “frantic” yesterday, and I apologize for using it. Maybe it’s not frantic. But, I mean, have they – do they some kind of explanation or excuse as to why he’s not —
MS. NULAND: Let me just go back to my – from our perspective, the Secretary would like to talk to him. It’s up to him whether he wants to take that opportunity. We are obviously continuing to talk to, and the Secretary’s continuing to talk to many interlocutors around the world on many subjects. I will say also though that it’s not all that unusual in our recent experience that when Foreign Minister Lavrov is traveling he does not always engage in international phone calls on other subjects. So I refer you to the Russians as to why that may be, but we are open to talking when he is.
QUESTION: But they had already spoken once.
MS. NULAND: They spoke – they had their introductory telephone call. I can’t remember whether that was that first Monday, I think, when he was in the office.