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‘Special’ & ‘connecting’ moment: Austrian FM recalls smoke break with Lavrov ahead of Moscow talks

‘Special’ & ‘connecting’ moment: Austrian FM recalls smoke break with Lavrov ahead of Moscow talks
Ahead of bilateral talks in Moscow, Karin Kneissl has recalled having smoked a cigarette together with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, saying she smokes rarely, only when feeling especially comfortable.

The Austrian FM is visiting Moscow on March 11-12 and is expected to talk with her colleague Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed.

In an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant, she remembered having a cigarette next to the Russian FM after a dinner engagement.

I don’t know if it’s true but the protocol service told me that was virtually the single case or at least a rare case when a guest smoked together with him. Here in Vienna we also smoked a couple of cigarettes [together] – that’s something that connects [people].

The Austrian FM didn't clarify when the smoke break took place but went on to confess that she smokes rarely, only at “special” moments when she feels especially comfortable.

In the same interview, Kneissl recalled her famous dance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made an appearance at her wedding last year, hitting headlines in Austria. Some media went so far as to suggest that the country’s foreign minister had cracked under pressure from the Russian leader.

Kneissl said she first met Putin back in 2001, when she worked as a journalist covering his meeting with US President George W. Bush in Ljubljana. “We had talks, an exchange of views,” Kneissl said, noting that “otherwise he wouldn’t have accepted an invitation [to the wedding].”

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It is unclear whether the Austrian FM is going to meet the Russian president during her stay in Moscow. According to a comment she made to Austrian media, she is relishing the prospect of seeing him again – though not necessarily in a formal setting. “Maybe next week I will dance with him again, [when] I’m in Moscow,” Kneissl said last Thursday. “He is actually a good dancer,” the minister revealed.

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