Francois Hollande will play the child-of-divorced-parents (or man-with-two-hot-dates) on Thursday night, when he will host two separate state dinners on the same night, so that Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, won't have to eat together.
Obama and Putin will both be visiting France this week, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy. But the two leaders, whose tense relationship has become even worse over the crisis in Ukraine, have no intention of spending time together during the trip. Which means that French President Francois Hollande has to perform some logistical gymnastics to accommodate them both, per the Telegraph:
French and Russian diplomats in Paris said that Hollande will host two consecutive dinners on Thursday. Obama comes first; then two hours later it’s Putin’s turn, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to be able to discuss the plans before they are publicly formalized... One of the meals might take place outside the presidential palace, a French diplomatic official said. That would reduce the likelihood that Obama and Putin might run into each other.
The meal shared between Putin and Hollande will mark the first time a western leader meets alone with the Russian president since the unrest in Ukraine began. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to follow suit on Friday, in France.
Barring some hilariously madcap hijinks by the French government, a meeting is not in the cards for Putin and Obama — although there might be an accidental run-in between Putin and recently elected Ukrainian President/Chocolate King Petro Poroshenko, which could be just as good.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.