Russian Foreign Minister, US Climate Envoy Hold Tête-à-Tête in Delhi Hotel Lobby

This is likely the first time that members of the two governments have met each other in person after Joe Biden's inauguration in January.

New Delhi: The lobby of a five-star hotel in New Delhi became the venue for the first face-to-face meeting between a high functionary of the new US administration and the Russian government.

According to the US embassy spokesperson, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov ran “into each by happenstance staying at the same hotel and chatted for a few minutes about climate”.

While the two presidents and foreign ministers have spoken to each other on the phone, this is possibly the first time that members of the two governments have met each other in person after Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.

The Russian version of the meeting is also equally succinct. “The meeting took place in the lobby of a hotel where both diplomats are staying. The envoys focused on the climate agenda, the source said,” state news agency Tass reported.

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The Russian daily, Kommersant quoted a “source” to report that the American side requested the “brief” and “unscheduled” meeting.

Kerry and Lavrov are familiar to each other and had worked together during the former’s term as US secretary of state in the Obama administration. They had earlier spoken on the phone in February.

The US climate change envoy is in India for a visit in the run-up to the virtual climate summit of 40 world leaders to be held on April 22-23. India has already accepted the invitation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also been invited to the summit, but Kremlin stated last week that it is still studying the details.