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18 Jan, 2023 15:07

Arab League defied Washington on photo op – Lavrov

The Russian FM claimed diplomats flocked to take pictures with him against US wishes

The US government pressured other nations to diplomatically isolate Russia, but many pushed back, sometimes directly defying instructions from Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

Moscow's top diplomat shared a story from his visit to Egypt last July to speak before the Arab League. The US and its allies unsuccessfully attempted to prevent his appearance, or stage a concerted condemnation of Russia by member states over the conflict in Ukraine, Lavrov claimed, citing Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary general of the organization.

When the lobbying effort failed, Western nations asked Arab delegates “to at least not to take pictures with Lavrov – and I am not joking,” he said.

“For the record, after my speech, which took over an hour, each of the envoys asked me to pose for a picture,” Lavrov concluded.

The Russian minister, who shared the story during a press conference on Wednesday, said in his opinion the Western ‘no photo op’ request was “humiliating” for the nations that delivered it.

He praised the members of the Arab League for defying the call, saying such an act “would have required a lot of political courage, if some other nations, including in Europe, were to take it.”

The administration of US President Joe Biden sought to isolate Russia diplomatically at international events. His staff reportedly planned carefully to avoid a possible intersection of Biden with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a summit of G20 leaders in Indonesia last year. The work seems to have been wasted, since Putin chose not to go and sent Lavrov to represent Russia instead.

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