Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has prompted a storm on social media Wednesday after being filmed swearing under his breath at a press conference with Saudi Arabia to discuss the crisis in Syria.
Lavrov and his Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, met on Tuesday to discuss how to resolve the worsening civil war in Syria and how to combat the terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State.
The two had failed to resolve a disagreement over how to deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, however. Russia believes that Assad, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, should be involved in a coalition to fight the Islamic State militants but Saudi Arabia wants Assad removed from power.
At a press conference following the meeting, taped footage shows a fed-up-looking Lavrov waiting as part of the conference is translated into Arabic, checking his mobile phone, adjusting glasses, briefly rubbing his forehead and then saying quietly: "F***ing morons" in Russian, Reuters reported.
It is not clear whether Lavrov was referring to his Saudi colleague when he made the remarks although a Reuters photographer present at the conference said Lavrov, who is known to dislike photographers, could have been referring to those snapping picture of him.
Lavrov's F-bomb prompted a storm on social media Wednesday. The hashtag #Lavrov and #f***morons started trending on social media site Twitter soon after the footage emerged on Wednesday with even the former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, commenting.
Lavrov's spokeswoman said she did not hear the comment and said that talks went well with his Saudi colleague.
"I cannot comment on what's not related to the essence of the talks," she told Reuters. "Interjections, noises, sneezing - I think it's unnecessary to comment on lip reading. Everyone hears differently."