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‘Minister Nyet’ Returns to His U.N. Stomping Grounds

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22.09.2021

Note: This profile originally appeared in Foreign Policy’s U.N. Brief, the pop-up newsletter covering the United Nations General Assembly this week. Subscribe to it and other newsletters here.

In late 2003, then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan tried to institute a ban on smoking at headquarters in New York. Most chain-smoking diplomats rolled their eyes and complained about the move, but one senior diplomat fought back.

Sergey Lavrov, then the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, lashed out at Annan and proudly flaunted the ban, continuing to light up at the headquarters building. “The U.N. building is owned by all the member nations while the secretary-general is just a hired manager,” he said at the time. The move was vintage Lavrov, seasoned diplomats said, and foreshadowed the blunt and acerbic approach to diplomacy he would later come to master as Russia’s top diplomat.

Note: This profile originally appeared in Foreign Policy’s U.N. Brief, the pop-up newsletter covering the United Nations General Assembly this week. Subscribe to it and other newsletters here.

In late 2003, then-U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan tried to institute a ban on smoking at headquarters in New York. Most chain-smoking diplomats rolled their eyes and complained about the move, but one senior diplomat fought back.

Sergey Lavrov, then the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, lashed out at Annan and proudly flaunted the ban,........

© Foreign Policy


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