The Washington Post

Meet Mr. Cheerful: Sergei Lavrov

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before their meeting Tuesday in Brunei. (JACQUELYN MARTIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Russian and U.S. reporters were doorstopping a room down a long hallway where he was waiting to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

When the dour Lavrov arrived, the media scrambled inside the room for a “photo spray,” the traditional brief grip and grin for the cameras, before being hustled out.

“Are you going to talk about asylum for Snowden?” CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked.

“Don’t shout at me, please,”Lavrov muttered before the press was hustled out and the door closed.

Lavrov and Kerry met for an hour and 40 minutes. The Russian cameras drifted away while the Americans stayed parked outside the door.

When Lavrov finally emerged, he strode quickly down the hall, with reporters hustling to keep up.

How was the meeting?

“Excellent,” Lavrov said in mid-stride. What about Snowden?

“I missed my lunch and I have a meeting to attend,” he said, then: “Turn off that light, you’re blinding me.”

But the fugitive Edward Snowden?

Lavrov scowled. “You are absolutely crazy, and I don’t know how you can work like this.”

Hey, doin’ the best we can. Guess the Russian press doesn’t badger top officials.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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