Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov prompted a wave of social media buzz this week after being filmed swearing under his breath during a press conference in Moscow with his Saudi counterpart.
Lavrov and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubier met Tuesday to discuss how to resolve the worsening Syrian civil war, and the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.
The two men disagreed how to deal with the embattled president, as Russia believes Assad, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, should be involved in a coalition against the Islamic State, but Saudi Arabia wants him removed from power.
While the Saudi top diplomat spoke, Lavrov was seen shaking his head, adjusting his glasses, and muttering to himself, “[expletive] imbeciles,” according to translators.
Lavrov said the two top diplomats agreed on steps to help the Syrian government and opposition groups discuss the future of the country.
Russian and Iranian officials are persuading Saudi Arabia and the United States to realize that fighting terrorism in the region is more important than ousting Assad, The New York Times reported this week.
Jubeir insisted after his meeting with Lavrov that “there is no place for Assad in the future of Syria.”
According to United Nations estimates, the Syrian civil war has killed over 200,000 people since it began over four years ago.
The former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tweeted Wednesday: “Really? And he used to accuse me of undiplomatic language.”