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US Ambassador to Qatar in scrap with Turkish counterpart? 20, February 2010

Posted by thegulfblog.com in American ME Relations.
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During Hilary Clinton’s recent trip to Doha she conducted many, many meetings which required significant organization and good time keeping. When, therefore, her discussion with the Turkish Prime Minister sailed past its allotted 20 minutes towards nearly an hour, US Ambassador James LeBaron became ever more anxious to extricate Clinton so that they would not be late for her next meeting with Qatar’s Emir Hamad Al Thani.

However, as he sought to enter the room to inform Clinton that they needed to go, reports indicate that the Turkish Ambassador physically restrained him. Apparently, this quickly developed into something of a minor brawl between the two Ambassadors who had to be separated by staff. Other reports play down the altercation and insist that there was no physical contact between them, just a bit of banging on the door to alert Clinton and some shouting. But where’s the fun in spreading that version of events?

The Cable continues to suggest that the Turks view the formalities and protocol of events as as important as the substance. Whilst this sounds a bit orientalist, I can imagine a grain of truth in it.

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