Careless whispers? Man behind Syria’s Mokdad scrutinized

Unbeknownst to Deputy FM Faisal al-Mokdad, his whispers at a Geneva press conference were picked by microphones

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They may have been whispering, but unbeknownst to Faisal al-Mokdad, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister, and an official at the Syrian embassy in Geneva, the microphones did not disguise their sideline conversation during a press conference on Tuesday.


The conversation sees the Syrian official, Mohammad al-Mohammad, asking Mokdad about his preferences regarding journalistic questions ahead of his press conference.

“To put it in a nutshell, you want to answer questions [from journalists], right?” Mohammad asked, appearing to think no one could hear him.

“Yes, of course,” Mokdad answered.


“From everyone or should I just pick [the journalists allowed to ask questions]?” Mohammad added.

“We are currently giving a very bad image [of Syria] as we are not inviting the other sides’ opinion,” Mokdad said, appearing concerned.

"You mean let's not be selective, but...” Mohammad said, trailing off. "I know, some of them [journalists] can be annoying."

Later, a similar incident happened when Mohammad asked Mokdad to end the press conference as the deputy Foreign
Minister was starting to lose his calm.

“Let’s leave,” Mohammad said following an angry response from Mokdad to one of the journalists, to which Mokdad whisperingly replied: “No, no, don’t worry.”

Mokdad gave the press conference during the second round of peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva.

Amid his speech, Mokdad said Tuesday was a “lost day” for the talks, accusing the opposition of denying the existence of terrorism in Syria.

The session was tense and the government was attempting to stall, a statement released by the opposition Syrian National Coalition read. In an attempt to break the deadlock, U.N. Arab Leage envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had proposed an agenda in which Tuesday would be used to discuss ending the violence and Wednesday to raise formation of a transitional governing body.

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