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US Ambassador Joseph LeBaron in fight with Turkish ambassador over Hillary Clinton's schedule in Qatar


Hillary Clinton is welcomed in Doha on Sunday, Feb. 14, by Qatari Ambassador to the U.S. Ali Al Hajri, center, and U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Joseph LeBaron, right, at the Doha International Airport. Not shown: Fuat Tanlay, the Turkish diplomat that LeBaron later scuffled with. (Maneesh Bakshi/AP)

The U.S. envoy to Qatar got into a smackdown last week with his counterpart from Turkey in a dispute over Hillary Clinton's busy schedule in Doha during the U.S.-Islamic World Forum.

It all went down when Ambassador Joseph LeBaron -- a career diplomat posted to Qatar since 2008 -- tried to get the secretary of state out of a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that was going into overtime, making her late for a sit-down with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Eyewitnesses told our colleagues at Foreign Policy magazine that LeBaron got into a yelling match -- and possibly a physical struggle -- with Turkish Ambassador Fuat Tanlay as he banged on the meeting-room door. Turkish media accounts even had the men "grab[bing] each other by the neck." But LeBaron, in a statement to FP, denied any "violence or physical contact." He added, "What was important was that Secretary of State Clinton was able to have a series of constructive talks in Doha."


By The Reliable Source  |  February 22, 2010; 1:01 AM ET
Categories:  Politics  
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